Optiv Cybersecurity Dictionary

What is Social Engineering?

Within the cybersecurity context, social engineering describes an attempt to manipulate people into divulging confidential information or performing actions inimical to the interests of them or their organizations.


For example, a social engineer might pose as a partner, vendor, salesperson or technical support rep in an attempt to trick an employee into divulging login credentials. The cyber thief leverages a target’s gullibility, lack of awareness or innate desire to be helpful in the fraudulent request.


There are several kinds of social engineering attacks, including phishing, which is by far one of the most common types of cyberattack.

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