A Brief History of Phishing, and Other Forms of Social Engineering

Brief History Phishing Social EngineeringSocial engineering attacks have a very long history, though the Internet has made it easier to launch these attacks en masse, according to Sean McNee at DomainTools. McNee points to an advance-fee scam from 1924, in which a crook sent a letter pretending to be trapped in a Spanish debtors prison.

The sender requested that the recipient send a check for $36,000 to pay off his debt. After the sender is freed, he promises to pay the recipient back, with an extra $12,000 for the trouble. Criminals still use this scam today, often posing as Nigerian princes.

Here are some best practices DomainTools offers to help users avoid falling for social engineering attacks:

  • “Look out for unsolicited emails, messages, or phone calls, especially if they request sensitive information or immediate action. Phishing messages can create a sense of urgency or fear to pressure recipients into quick responses."
  • If an offer seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Scammers use enticing offers to lure victims.
  • “Ask someone else for their opinions on a specific email or interaction. Sometimes a second review on a suspicious interaction can help you see the scam for what it is."
  • “Use multifactor authentication (MFA) for your accounts online, especially accounts with sensitive personal information such as your finances or email. Never give your MFA code to anyone who asks for it, only to the service webpage you are actively logging into."
  • “If you’re part of a critical business process, such as approving wire transfers, establish a secondary out-of-band process to validate these transactions. If you are in the same physical office, for example, agree to talk to the other approver face-to-face. If you’re remote, create a second communications channel, like text messaging, phone calls, or Slack, for approvals.”

KnowBe4 enables your workforce to make smarter security decisions every day. Over 65,000 organizations worldwide trust the KnowBe4 platform to strengthen their security culture and reduce human risk.

DomainTools has the story.

Free Phishing Security Test

Would your users fall for convincing phishing attacks? Take the first step now and find out before bad actors do. Plus, see how you stack up against your peers with phishing Industry Benchmarks. The Phish-prone percentage is usually higher than you expect and is great ammo to get budget.

PST ResultsHere's how it works:

  • Immediately start your test for up to 100 users (no need to talk to anyone)
  • Select from 20+ languages and customize the phishing test template based on your environment
  • Choose the landing page your users see after they click
  • Show users which red flags they missed, or a 404 page
  • Get a PDF emailed to you in 24 hours with your Phish-prone % and charts to share with management
  • See how your organization compares to others in your industry

Go Phishing Now!

PS: Don't like to click on redirected buttons? Cut & Paste this link in your browser:


Subscribe to Our Blog

Comprehensive Anti-Phishing Guide

Get the latest about social engineering

Subscribe to CyberheistNews