Social engineering is a manipulation that uses human error to obtain confidential information, access, or assets. These "human hacking" scams are often used in cybercrime to dupe unsuspecting individuals into disclosing data, spreading malware infections, or giving access to restricted systems.

FREMONT, CA: A discussion of social engineering needs a shared definition, which Digital Guardian gives. In cybersecurity, social engineering is specified as a "non-technical way that cyber attackers employ that is primarily dependent on human interaction and frequently entails duping people into violating basic security measures."

The success of these social engineering efforts depends entirely on the attacker's ability to convince their victims to execute a desired action, like disclosing personal information such as a password or social security number.

Social engineering is considered one of the most successful methods of obtaining information and breaching a defense's walls in today's society. It is effective because technical defenses (such as firewalls and overall software security) have considerably improved their ability to protect against external entities. On the contrary, humans are commonly referred to as the "weakest link" in a security posture.

Now that a fundamental understanding of social engineering in the cybersecurity business has been accepted, the natural sequel question is why it is so effective in practice for attackers. The basic solution to this question is simple: Human beings are fallible.

Machines are created with security and regularly updated to guarantee that vulnerabilities are fixed and defenses are current. Humans, conversely, are an exception. Human thoughts often wander and think about things that have nothing to do with security (unless they work in the sector).

While the most tech-savvy individuals may be capable of smelling a phish or social engineering attempt a mile away, not everyone holds this "spidey sense." Also, information about individuals, like their name, city of residence, address, and the names of their spouse & children, is freely accessible online. This deficiency of awareness and focus is why enemies succeed at social engineering.

This personal information is essential to create trust with victims and establish a relationship to gather helpful information. New social engineering techniques like "deep fake" videos and sounds are getting increasingly realistic daily, making it harder to distinguish between a legitimate discussion or information request and a breach attempt.