Cyber criminals take advantage of these brain bugs

Why are social engineers good at what they do? They take advantage of the bugs in your brain. Read in the new blog by Business Development Manager Innovation & Security Emile Ramlal which bugs they take advantage of and how they do so.

In my last blog I wrote about my good friend: the person she liked was not a successful art dealer, he turned out to be a fraud. In hindsight she felt ashamed for trusting him – let’s face it, these are feelings we would have ourselves in this situation. But there was not a lot my friend could have done about it.

Time to panic?

Since the start of the Corona crisis, cyber crime statistics have gone up. In my last blog, I wrote that Europol already started warning about an increase in cybercrime in March. By using Corona related content in his attacks, the social engineer (a cyber criminal that hacks people) takes advantage of the fear people might have. They take advantage of this ‘bug’ in your brain,

What do I mean when I talk about bugs in your brain?

Things that look a like, are the same

You and I are prone to think that things that look a like, are the same. We call this representativeness heuristic. An example of representativeness heuristic is that we might think someone in a nice suit has a good job.

This means you will be more likely to help someone out who is dressed for success – social engineers take advantage of this personality trait. You’ve already decided this person is trustworthy and so, you’ll be more likely to share personal information with him.

Return the favor

Once someone does something nice for you, you are more likely to return the favor. So if you receive an e-mail from a football team you are a fan of, including tickets to the next match, you are more likely to make a small donation in return for the tickets. But this donation won’t end up at the football team, it just ends up in the pocket of the social engineer.

This reminds me of the story of my friend. Because the ‘art dealer’ had already romanced my friend, she was more likely to transfer money to him when he was in need. Be aware of these tricks!

If you’ve said no one, you have to say yes the second time

If you’ve cancelled on someone once, you are not likely to do it again. The social engineer takes advantage of this. If you didn’t donate to charity that one time – the social engineer will just e-mail you again to see if you bite.

Taking advantage of your emotions

This takes us to the next bug: taking advantage of someone’s emotions. When you receive a sad e-mail from the World Wildlife Fund, you will feel obligated to transfer this organization money. This is because the e-mail will play into your emotions. You might want to compensate the guilt you feel or might want to feel better about yourself by donating.

The social engineer uses the same tactic. If there is a nice man in front of your office building that isn’t able to get in – you’ll let him into the building, right?

Patch yourself

All these bugs in your brain might have good qualities, unless someone else takes advantage of them. But you can you protect yourself against social engineers? Discover it in the interactive e-Book ‘Zo ontdek je de cybercrimineel’. In this Dutch e-Book, we’ll tell you how discover the different types of cybercrime and what you can do about them. Download the e-Book via the button below.

Autor: Emile Ramlal