Why do cyber criminals pose as friends?

Cyber crime trends are always adapting and recently they have begun posing as your friends or family to try to receive money of information from you. But why is this an effective way to attack an individual or a company or business?

What is social engineering?

Social engineering is a cyber crime process that gathers as much information as possible about the person to be targeted, much like a more traditional con. Using this information, cyber criminals can develop a profile of the person, and their social network, and then they can use this information to either pose as you, or pose as someone you know and ask you to send money or files to them directly. While we see this frequently with online scammers who may pretend to be a family member asking for money, professional cyber criminals can use this technique much more effectively, especially when targeting individuals within companies and businesses. This is because cyber criminals will have much more extensive information and tools to ensure that request is much more believable. 

So, why do cyber criminals pose as friends?

Social engineering is something that has been used for several years now, and companies and businesses are more prepared than ever before to prevent such attacks from being successful. But this still remains one of the number one methods for cyber criminals to access networks and data. So, why has posing as a friend been so successful for cyber criminals looking to exploit companies and businesses? Well, there are a number of reasons, including:

  • Social media- with all of your personal information available on social media platforms from Facebook to LinkedIn, it has never been easier for potential criminals to profile a target from afar, without even interacting with the person. Your business connections, and personal connections can be viewed by anyone who you have added as a friend, unless you have a public profile which then means this information is instead available to everyone. And not only can cyber criminals identify relationships, but they also gain access to your writing style, and that of your friends or business associates, as well as other tells, that can help them to set up a digital conversation that seems legitimate and believable, and will prompt the target to respond.
  • Trust and reliability- cold emails or connections from a stranger are unlikely to be looked at and cyber criminals know this. That’s why they exploit the connection and existing trust between the target and their friends, staff, colleagues or business partners. When an email is received from a friend or a known associate, it is much more likely to be opened and read, which means that the action is much more likely to be carried out. This is because the trust already exists, and people may not realise that it isn’t genuine.

For more information or advice about keeping your business or company safe, why not get in touch with the experts today, here at Creative Network Solutions.