Sometimes the best way to optimize Windows 7 is by just being a smarter computer user. It all starts with educating yourself about the various threats, or cyberattacks that can take place across the Internet.
Social engineering is one such example of a cyberattack, also known as a cybercrime. Each and every single day, thousands of naive, unsuspecting computer users across the world fall victim to a form of such attack known as social engineering. No, this is not some form of development or building effort.
What social engineering refers to is the act of manipulating someone into falling into their trap, thereby exposing their sensitive data to others on the Internet, without even realizing that such an activity is ever even taking place. The user does not suspect a thing, and may never even realize it just happened to them, until after it is too late.
Let’s take a look at one example of how social engineering works. Let’s say that some clever hacker is able to obtain a list of email addresses of people who happen to have accounts at XYZ bank and who do their banking at xyzbank.com. This hacker wants to steal money from these people’s accounts. Believe it or not, with social engineering, the hacker never has to break into the bank’s website. On the contrary, with this social engineering technique you are about to learn, you will see how unsuspecting customers will be innocently giving their username and their password to their online bank account, directly to that hacker, without ever realizing that they were doing it.
So in this example, what the hacker will do is send out a mass email to everyone on that email list, formatted and disguised to make it look like an actual, official email originating from the bank’s website. It looks like a legitimate email. Everything from the logo, to the legal disclaimers, to even the email address, will be meticulously crafted in such a way so as to masquerade as having originated legitimately from the bank.
And the content of this email will be something to the effect of saying “We are doing an audit of all of our accounts. If you do not log onto your account within the next 24 hours, your online account will be suspended. Please click here to log onto the website now.”
The unsuspecting recipient of this email will believe this to be true, and fearing the risk of losing his or her online account access, will click on the link contained within the email that supposedly takes the user to the login page of his or her back account.
The only problem is that the page that the user is taken to upon clicking on the link is not actually the bank’s website, but is a website set up by the hacker, disguised to look exactly like the banks’ website. So when the user types in his or her username and password, the theft has been completed. The hacker has now captured that information, and then can use it to actually log onto the real bank account website and therefore gain access to that user’s funds.
So what can you do to prevent a situation like this from occurring? Unfortunately, there is no software that can actually put a stop to social engineering, although there are web browser plugins available today that can help to detect suspicious websites and suspicious links embedded within emails.
But ultimately, you do not want to get too complacent in this regard, putting all of your trust in software. This is something that you need to be smart about, since it involves your money and your financial security. You need to learn how to differentiate between a legitimate email and one that is being sent by a scammer.