Sunday, January 5, 2020

Social Engineering Tactics on a Global Scale

It is to our benefit to fathom the tentacles of social engineering tactics introduce by cyber attacker on a daily basis. Far and wide Investigations by Interpol, FBI, and the Toronto police revealed how deceptive participants are networking and exchanging information on how to be better at what they do (check out the video far below). 

Several years ago, when I was oblivious to basic terminologies related to cyber security, I knew very little about social engineering orchestrated by cyber attackers. I thought it was a practice initiated by computer experts to combat viruses. Since I was no expert on such systems, I spent years with no interest in educating myself on technological systems. 

It took me a long time to understand; but learning the basics of closing the door on cyber criminals in restricting access to systems or information does not require a profound knowledge of computers. 

Social Engineering is actually a tactic to trick people into doing something they should not do, such as sharing sensitive information such as banking information, passwords, opening infected email attachments, etc. 

A Senior Citizen is taken Advantage of 

A recent case last December saw two men from New York, pretending to be a lawyer for a grandson in jail, swindle a Massachusetts grandmother out of $19,000. This poor woman was specifically targeted by way of a series of phone calls requesting for payments to be made in order to secure the grandson’s release. 

It took these criminals no more than a week deceive this woman twice before the police were alerted and the men were taking into custody when they were trying to trick her for a third time. Learn more about this here

You might ask yourself why should this story concern me? I would never be gullible for something like this. 

True, but how often do we have elderly relatives or friends who could be potential victims for something like this? We can’t be certain WHO could fall for these scams but what I know for sure is the elders in our community are high risk targets. 

It would be beneficial to keep ourselves updated with the latest news and events to educate ourselves and put our newly acquired knowledge into practice by checking on our loved ones. 

More On Advanced Social Engineering

Advanced social engineering attacks can also come in a form of a fake or suspicious email. Generally, how many times per day do we see something like this? If this seems odd or not right, just contact the sender directly by phone. Why take a chance?

I think so far, the most bizarre story I heard of took place late last year in Kentucky when a woman was sentenced up to 30 years in prison for defrauding her employer for millions of dollars. Previously, she was a victim of a romance scam.  

She was hoping to eventually meet someday while sending this person money from her retirement and savings. This cyber attacker claimed he was a business man and needed her to loan him money to close out deals. 

This went on for years before she depleted her funds and resorted to stealing from her employer in order to solve her financial troubles. Read up on this at 

Advanced social engineering attacks basically contains the same fundamentals. Cyber criminals creates a sense of urgency, often through fear, intimidation, a crisis, or using an important deadline to deceive victims. 

The best defense is you. Be mindful of opening suspicious attachments, clicking on suspicious links, and sharing sensitive information. If something’s too good to be true, most likely it isn’t. 

Criminals in Internet Cafes and Other Deceptive Methods

This video left me baffled concerning not only with the obvious signs missed by the victims; but also the blatant disregard of a moral compass by the cyber attackers who shared deceptive practice. 

In this investigative video by ABC News In-depth in West Africa's Ghana, these orchestrator's behind romance scams carefully sought out targets with the following traits-
  • Widows
  • Those looking for engagement or marriage
  • Vulnerability with no ability to properly screen 
Without giving away too much before you see this video, please understand how victims keep their guards down and quick to cater to the wishes of these internet predators. 

This has become big business for gangs of criminals because of the lack of awarness regarding cyber fraud. in some cases cyber thieves are stealing images of U.S. military personally and using that to trick unsuspecting women.

The same applies to male victims. They think they are speaking to a woman in a different country. But they are really talking to teenagers in an internet cafe. 

The male victims ending doing stuff on camera they shouldn't do and these inaappropriate incidents not only signifies the growing problem of online fraud; but it also exposes weaknesses on the part of the victim.

Please take a look at the video about (there's nothing graphic). Just a story about the problem in Ghana and the ties it has to drug smuggling, money laundering, and more. 

Thanks for checking out my blog. If you like it, please subscribe above. 

Until next time, stay safe and secure!

Ken Harris

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