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Innovator Insights: Common Social Engineering Tactics

Effective security strategies are crucial in safeguarding your business against losses. Despite investments in strong physical infrastructure, advanced IT systems, and even on-site security personnel, businesses frequently overlook a critical security loophole: human vulnerability.

Even the most reliable security systems have an inherent weakness – the people authorized to access them. Criminals increasingly resort to “social engineering,” a tactic that manipulates individuals into granting access or divulging confidential information. This tactic, which exploits human psychology rather than relying on technical hacking methods, causes significant financial damages to businesses annually and is entirely preventable. 


Social engineering involves manipulating people to access restricted areas, systems, data, or assets using psychological tricks rather than physical force or technical hacking. It leverages a variety of methods that prey on human psychological vulnerabilities, convincing victims to inadvertently provide what the attacker seeks.

The danger of social engineering lies in its ability to exploit psychological blind spots, leading employees to unknowingly give unauthorized access or information. These attacks can manifest in various ways, such as sophisticated spear-phishing emails, convincing phone calls from imposters, or physical impersonations, like a fake fire inspector demanding server room access.


Social engineers typically exploit certain psychological tendencies:

  • Avoidance of Conflict: Many people prefer to avoid confrontation. Social engineers capitalize  
    on this by appearing confident when requesting unauthorized information or access, prompting compliance rather than resistance. 
  • Desire for a Bargain: Criminals may use gifts or promotions to lower victims’ guard. Sometimes, these giveaways conceal malicious software.
  • Seeking Sympathy: Attackers might use charm or humor to gain sympathy and distract their targets from recognizing the scam. 
  • Need for Closure: People’s inherent need for closure can be exploited. Social engineers often have prepared responses to potential challenges, providing a false sense of due diligence  
    to their victims. 


To mitigate the risk of social engineering, educating employees is key: 

  • Promote the ‘Stop. Think. Connect.’ Campaign: This global initiative encourages smarter behavior regarding online privacy and security. 
  • Personalize the Message: Show employees how security practices are relevant to both their professional and personal lives. 
  • Utilize Social Proof: Highlight the importance of security through leadership examples. 
  • Interactive Training: Engage employees in interactive social engineering training relevant to their work. 
  • Conduct Tests: Regular phishing audits can assess the effectiveness of security training. 


Recognize that employees are potential targets for criminals. Regularly updating employees on best practices and emerging social engineering tactics is as important as upgrading systems and software. Partnering with organizations like Jones DesLauriers Insurance Management Inc. can help in identifying and communicating security threats, ensuring your business stays informed about evolving risks.