Prevent manipulation

Social Engineering: Prevention Strategies in Support

Social Engineering refers to the process of obtaining confidential information through deception. Unfortunately, no firewall can protect you from such manipulation attempts by people! However, there are common patterns that attackers often rely on. Protect your organization by recognizing and preventing these early on.

What this post is about

  • Social Engineering targets the human vulnerability in data security
  • In customer support, attempts are made to bypass security protocols to access sensitive data
  • Awareness, regular training, and technical security features are crucial for defense

Companies are a particularly attractive target for social engineering attacks because they manage sensitive data, financial resources, and critical business systems. The consequences can be devastating, ranging from the theft of intellectual property to embezzled funds and even irreparable damage to their reputation.

Definition and Meaning

Social Engineering, also known as Human Hacking or Social Hacking, refers to the manipulation of individuals to unintentionally disclose information or carry out actions they wouldn't normally do, and which outsiders are not authorized for.

In the context of information security, Social Engineering is a method in which attackers use psychological tricks and deception to gain access to sensitive data, systems, or locations.

Unfortunately, the dangers are increasingly amplified in the digital age, from fake online profiles to deepfakes. Therefore, an understanding of the mechanisms and risks is crucial to effectively protect oneself and comply with legal regulations.

Common Social Engineering Techniques

Now, how do you recognize an attempt at deception through social engineering? Attackers will deliberately aim to circumvent your standard security protocols and deviate from the norm to gain access to sensitive data, financial resources, or business-critical systems. This must be prevented at all costs.

Some of the most frequently used methods of social engineering include:

  • Pretexting: An invented story or pretext is used to extract information from a target.
  • Impersonation: The attacker poses as a legitimate customer or employee to gain access to sensitive information.
  • Phishing: By asking seemingly harmless questions, the attacker attempts to gradually gather information that could be useful for a later attack.
  • Pressure and Urgency: By feigning an urgent situation, the attacker tries to prompt your support agent into quick, thoughtless actions.

Targeting Helpdesks: How to Protect Yourself

Unfortunately, the use of technological tools like a helpdesk not only increases efficiency in support but also the complexity and sophistication of social engineering attacks. Due to the inherently helpful nature of their profession, helpdesk employees are particularly vulnerable to social manipulation attempts.

To ensure data security in your company, it is crucial to raise awareness among all helpdesk and support staff regarding the detection and defense against potential tactics.

Emphasize in training and regular updates:

  1. Always verify the legitimacy of sources and senders.
  2. Never release sensitive data without identity verification.

Furthermore, you should also take technical precautions, such as implementing security features like two-factor authentication or encrypting your communications. Both of these are readily available in your smart helpdesk Zammad and can be set up with just a few clicks.

For more ideas on protecting access and data, we provide additional suggestions here.

An outlook

With the advancement of AI systems and machine learning, social engineering could become increasingly automated and personalized. Deepfakes in particular pose a major threat, as they allow genuine personality traits to be placed in false contexts and motives.

On the social level, people's behavior and expectations could change further, for example due to the influence of social media. On the one hand, people rightly expect to be able to access publicly provided information when making inquiries. On the other hand, this same data could also form the basis of an attempt to deceive.

Be careful and consult your team or your superiors once too often!


Given the technological advancements and the significance of sharing and accessing personal data in support, the importance of social engineering cannot be overstated. To minimize the risk of the human factor in complex cyberattacks, implement targeted security measures and provide regular training and awareness programs for agents.

  1. Definition and Meaning
  2. Common Social Engineering Techniques
  3. Targeting Helpdesks: How to Protect Yourself
  4. An outlook
  5. Summary
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