Social engineering, in the context of computer security, aims to convince a user to disclose secrets such as passwords, card numbers, etc. or grant physical access by, for example, impersonating a senior executive, bank, a contractor, or a customer. This generally involves exploiting peoples trust, and relying on their cognitive biases. A common scam involves emails sent to accounting and finance department personnel, impersonating their CEO and urgently requesting some action. In early 2016, the FBI reported that such business email compromise (BEC) scams had cost US businesses more than $2 billion in about two years.
Social engineering and direct computer access (physical) attacks can only be prevented by non-computer means, which can be difficult to enforce, relative to the sensitivity of the information. Training is often involved to help mitigate this risk, but even in highly disciplined environments (e.g. military organizations), social engineering attacks can still be difficult to foresee and prevent.
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Baiting puts something enticing or curious in front of the victim to lure them into the social engineering trap. A baiting scheme could offer a free music download or gift card in an attempt to trick the user into providing credentials.
A social engineer may hand out free USB drives to users at a conference. The user may believe they are just getting a free storage device, but the attacker could have loaded it with remote access malware which infects the computer when plugged in. 2b1af7f3a8