An Overview Of Social Engineering As Part Of Shoulder Surfing In Cybersecurity
By Tom Seest
At BestCybersecurityNews, we help young learners and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.
People using public transportation or cafes to access sensitive accounts put themselves and their passwords and personal data at risk, potentially opening themselves up to being targeted by cyber-criminals who could gain access to stolen identities and funds.
These social engineering attacks can cause significant financial loss and take months or years to address, so here are some tips on how to protect yourself from becoming the victim of shoulder surfing.
This photo was taken by Tima Miroshnichenko and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-typing-on-keyboard-5380633/
Table Of Contents
Observation is one of the oldest and most basic methods of breaching cyber security. An attacker physically observes their victim while they log into their account, type passwords or enter sensitive data into their device – this allows the attacker to read off of the screen or record what they see for later use – either maliciously or simply with curious curiosity – this type of intrusion into privacy is potentially unacceptable in either instance. An attacker could also spy on their response to password reset questions or security questions and use that knowledge to gain entry or steal their credit card number!
At times, victims may not realize they are being watched; shoulder surfing occurs most frequently when people share sensitive information in public, such as at ATMs, payment kiosks, PIN pads, or their laptop screens; this includes cafes, crowded buses, trains or airport lounges where someone might lurk and observe. Attackers could range from complete strangers standing directly behind their victim to people they already know, like friends, colleagues, or family.
Shoulder surfing attacks at close range can be conducted more simply with just the observation of someone’s device screen and keypad by an unfamiliar stranger. Longer range shoulder surfing requires the attacker to be more covert – they might hide behind a wall or in the back of a queue and use binoculars, miniature video cameras, or recording devices to observe people using laptops, tablets, or phones from afar using binoculars, miniature video cameras or recording devices.
Shoulder surfers are relatively straightforward to avoid by keeping a close watch on your surroundings and only using your devices in private settings or places that offer privacy. But for added peace of mind, 2-factor authentication (2FA) should always be enabled on all accounts that offer it – this prevents accessing your account unless they possess either your device of login or the code generated from a mobile app that generates it.
This photo was taken by Tima Miroshnichenko and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/grayscale-photo-of-hackers-sitting-on-chairs-5380637/.
Shoulder Surfing is one of the most widely employed social engineering attacks to steal confidential information. This typically happens in public spaces where individuals use smartphones, laptops, or credit cards to enter personal details – and criminals eavesdrop. Criminals use this moment as an opportunity to record video or audio to steal confidential data illegally through hacking techniques that can be avoided with certain preventive measures.
Shoulder surfing can take place both close up and at a distance, depending on the attacker’s needs and abilities. Close-range shoulder surfing occurs when attackers look over someone’s shoulder to observe their computer or device screen and keyboard as they enter data; longer-range shoulder surfing uses binoculars or miniature cameras to capture this data – both forms can occur in public places like restaurants, banks, airport lounges or ATM queues.
Criminals can do serious damage with the information they obtain through this technique. For instance, they could gain entry to their victim’s online banking or payment applications and steal passwords for these applications – this can lead to fraudulent purchases, credit card debt and identity theft as well as using personal details from victims for loans or employment applications in their name.
Shoulder surfing can be avoided with the right security app and two-factor authentication measures in place. Biometric authentication is difficult for hackers to replicate, making your account inaccessible except by yourself. Furthermore, double-factor authentication should also be implemented to make your account accessible only to you.
Another way to protect against shoulder surfing is by blocking both the screen and keyboard with your body when entering sensitive information. A password manager allows you to generate unique passwords for every site you visit and store them securely – minimizing damage caused by shoulder-surfing attacks while making it more difficult for hackers to gain entry to your accounts.
This photo was taken by Tima Miroshnichenko and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-in-black-hoodie-sitting-on-chair-5380638/.
Two-factor authentication can make it harder for shoulder surfers to gain access to your data. But criminals could still gain entry by stealing your phone or tablet and seeing the code you enter to log in – making password managers with random strings of characters that store securely vital. Furthermore, public computers may contain malware, which could compromise sensitive accounts that require 2-FA authentication.
Criminals would traditionally stand behind people as they entered their PIN at an ATM or recited their credit card number over the phone, then make notes or record it using mobile phones or cameras. Today’s shoulder surfing techniques are far more sophisticated, and attackers can use sophisticated spy equipment such as miniature cameras or binoculars from a distance and powerful microphones to eavesdrop on victims.
Criminals can watch your phone screen when typing passwords or passcodes while out and about and even listen in on conversations using Bluetooth headsets. They could even use their own phones to intercept your Wi-Fi connection and execute man-in-the-middle attacks, posing a serious risk to privacy and security when using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.
Criminals who witness you entering your PIN at a store or ATM could use that moment of opportunity to quickly use fake cards with your information to commit fraud, such as opening new credit cards in your name and applying for jobs without your knowledge. Even more devastating could be having your Social Security number stolen and misused to commit long-term identity theft schemes using it as leverage against you.
Though hackers have become more sophisticated over time, traditional forms of attack remain prevalent and serve as a great way to put ethical hacking training to use. KnowledgeHut provides an ethical hacking certification program that provides training on performing attacks in a controlled manner while also assessing organizations’ cybersecurity posture and performing attacks in an ethical manner. Students also gain practical, hands-on experience using a wide array of tools and techniques.
This photo was taken by Tima Miroshnichenko and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/three-people-hacking-a-computer-system-5380644/.
Shoulder surfing isn’t just another form of cybercrime that hackers commit – it is actually one of the more prevalent attack methods employed by criminals as they observe people enter sensitive information using phones, tablets, or laptops. Criminals will use techniques known as shoulder surfing or lookover to gather this sensitive data from an individual using these devices.
This form of attack is relatively straightforward and does not require advanced technical skills to implement successfully. Criminals typically target ATMs, POS terminals, or other public spaces where they can remain unseen while placing “skimmer” devices over card readers or into machines in order to capture account details whenever someone makes purchases or withdraws money from accounts.
Criminals typically wait for their targets to become unaware and relax their guard, waiting until they enter an ATM PIN or their bank password and then using this information later to gain entry and steal funds or commit financial fraud.
Close-range shoulder surfing attacks can be made using just your eyes; longer-range attacks require physical proximity as well as using binoculars or miniature video cameras to spy on their victim’s device screen and keypad. Criminals often target people in restaurants, bars, hotels, airport lounges, or any public areas where people use phones, tablets, and computers – such as airport lounges.
To avoid becoming the target of such an attack, it is essential that you remain aware of your surroundings and never look at your phone or laptop with anyone near. In addition, using a password manager rather than writing down all your login information will help safeguard all your accounts if criminals were to steal passwords. Furthermore, 2-factor authentication offers another layer of protection; using either code sent via mobile device or biometric features like retina scan or fingerprint recognition as your second authentication factor can prevent access by criminals who gain entry through the theft of passwords.
This photo was taken by Tima Miroshnichenko and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-hacking-a-computer-system-5380648/.
Please share this post with your friends, family, or business associates who may encounter cybersecurity attacks.