By Mark Leary

Social engineering is a technique criminals use to manipulate people into divulging confidential information. There are many things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of social engineering.

First, remember this old advice, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”. Second, ask as many questions as you can. Don’t take whatever you hear as the truth. The main thing to remember is to rely on common sense. Most hackers are impatient and will not consider someone who asks questions an easy target.

“Most hackers are impatient and will not consider someone who asks questions an easy target.” – Mark Leary, chief information security officer for Xerox

“Most hackers are impatient and will not consider someone who asks questions an easy target.” – Mark Leary, chief information security officer for Xerox

These six tips will serve you well and help keep your company’s information safe.

  1. Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls or email messages asking for information. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company before you provide them any information.
  2. Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, including its structure or HR networks, unless you are certain of a person’s authority to have the information.
  3. Do not reveal personal or financial information within emails, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links included in emails.
  4. Do not send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a website’s security.
  5. Pay attention to the URL of a website. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
  6. Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic.

Links to More Information
Microsoft Safety & Security Center: Practical security tips for you and your family, useful resources and links, and a forum for you to provide feedback and ask security-related questions.

StaySafeOnline.org: From the National Cyber Security Alliance, which seeks to educate a digital society to use the Internet safely and securely at home, work and school.

Stop. Think. Connect: A national public awareness campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The campaign seeks to help the American public understand cyber threats, and empower the public to be safer and more secure online.

Other Articles from Mark Leary
Your Best Defense Against Security Breaches: A list of 7 tricks that criminals use on your employees in order to hack your company’s network and steal your customers’ data.

5 Ways to Manage Passwords in a Post-Heartbleed World: Solution: Unique, complex passwords that are changed often. A look at digital password managers to securely store your codes.

12 Tips to Secure your Credit Card: While it’s impossible to guarantee you won’t be the victim of credit card fraud, you can protect yourself. Here are 12 smart ways you can secure your credit card information and purchases.

Has Your Credit Card Been Compromised? Your 3-Item Checklist: 3 things you should do immediately if your credit card is compromised.

Mobile Shoppers at Great Risk: 4 Things You Need to Know: The biggest threat mobile consumers face may be the phone they carry in their pockets.