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Have you opened the front door for anyone who came knocking or made way for an unknown contractor? If so, you might have been victim of social manipulation-based hacking. Training, exercise and countermeasures can help, and this also applies to the Next Big Corporate hack which surely can strike even you.
Two factor authentication, different usernames and passwords for different services, patching of web systems, firewalls, control with IoT units, and avoidance of attachments and links in emails from unknown senders work well against hacking.
All of these methods are IT based and quite common, and here you can read what we in Basefarm have written earlier about this. Analysis of actual data interruption shows that these simple measures prevent most attacks.
But, back to where we started. Have you seen a contractor walking in the corridors without knowing where they came from, where they are going or what they shall do? Is it common to have new people in your surroundings, as temporary workers and consultants? Or have you driven into a garage facility and simply nodded friendly to the well-dressed pedestrian who walked in while you kept the gate open? Or mounted an unknown USB stick into your computer to see what was on it?
Many of us have done things like this. In the field of information security this may have been about psychological manipulation, which is called “social engineering” in professional terms.
Social engineering is about acquiring information through social skills. Wikipedia describes many techniques. These are the ones you most likely can be affected by:
Pretexting – the hacker will obtain some personal information to establish legitimacy in the mind of the victim and use this to increase the chances the victim will divulge more information or perform actions that would be unlikely in ordinary circumstances.
Baiting – someone leaves a malware-infected USB flash drive in locations where people will find them, and give them legitimate labels which pique curiosity.
Tailgating – an attacker walks in behind you. You feel it is hard to ask the welldressed man or woman to identify themselves, as you do not want to be exposed to negative reactions. And, after all, it is not your job, right?
Phishing – the phisher sends an email that appears to come from a legitimate business, requesting verification of information and linking to a fraudulent web page.
Spear phishing – while phishing emails are sent in large numbers speculating that a few will take the bait, spear phising are highly customized emails to few end users. This is naturally much more work for the hacker, but probably has a hit rate ten times higher.
Confidence tricksters – can also be considered social engineers. They gain confidence by manipulating people into giving access to offices or confidential information.
When we read about these techniques, we might think: This is strange, This happens rarely, It is very unlikely that we will be struck.
Or, is it really? Since it is unlikely, the methods might work nicely if someone tries them out.
Therefore, you should look to preventive measures like:
Many want your vulnerable personal or company data, including credit card information. While we can protect ourselves, we can hardly protect us from attacks as the infamous Yahoo breach which hit half a billion users. This writer has been involved in no less than four such breaches including Adobe in October 2013, Disqus in October 2017, Dropbox in mid-2012 and LinkedIn in May 2016, where 164 million email addresses and passwords were exposed.
How can I know? Well, you can check with the service Have I Been Pwned brought to us by security researcher Troy Hunt.
When any of these Big Corporates are hacked, you are too. New hacks are likely and if you are a heavy net services and social media user the probability that you can be hit is surely there.
So, what to do? Either you are hit through phishing, spear phishing or indirectly through a Big Corporate Hack, so you should never reuse passwords. Instead, get a password manager as that allows you to create unique usernames and passwords for each service you sign up to by using a single master password that can, for example, be a long sentence. A master password such as “I like trains, would you like to fly with me to Canada next year?” is both easier to remember and harder to break by brute force methods, compared to “u(!3%N,#”. Depending on the password manager, it can also automatically sign you in to the websites if you have authenticated in the password manager, thus saving you time.
One last thing. If your credit card might have been involved, block the card through the issuers service. They will be more than happy to replace it.
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2. Data controller
Basefarm AS, reg. no. 982 211 743, Nydalen Allé 37a, 0484 Oslo, Norway, is the data controller in relation to personal data being processed on the Norwegian and English versions of the website.
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When you apply for a job at Basefarm or otherwise send a job application to Basefarm;
In the event you turn to Basefarm with inquiries or requests via e-mail or telephone; and
4. What data may Basefarm collect?
The personal data Basefarm may collect includes information about your name and contact details such as address, telephone number and e-mail address, company and any other information you provide. If you apply for a job at Basefarm, Basefarm will process your CV as well as any other information you attach with your application.
5. How does Basefarm process personal data?
The personal data collected by Basefarm is used to manage customer relations, assess potential employees and assist customers and website visitors with any requests or inquiries made on the website. The information may also be used for monitoring and development of Basefarm’s business and website, for example by analyzing statistics of website visitors, and to protect Basefarm’s rights.
If you apply for a job, Basefarm only uses your personal data for the purposes for which you provided the information. However, Basefarm may save interesting applications even after the recruitment period is over. Such applications may also be transferred to other entities within the Basefarm group.
6. To whom may Basefarm disclose the information?
Basefarm will not sell, lease or otherwise transfer any personal data collected to a third party. Basefarm may however transfer the personal data to other companies within the Basefarm group or to business partners if it is necessary to fulfil its obligations towards you.
Personal data may be disclosed if it is necessary to:
a) Comply with applicable law, regulation or similar or to comply with a legal process, request or order from an executive authority;
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c) Detect, prevent, or otherwise avoid fraud, security breaches or technical issues.
7. Links to external websites
Basefarm’s website may contain links to third-party websites. Basefarm is not responsible for the processing of your personal data on such websites.
If this policy is amended, Basefarm will publish the amended policy at www.basefarm.com with information about when the amendments will enter into force. If Basefarm carry out any significant changes to the policy, Basefarm may choose to inform by e-mail or by publishing a message on the website.
9. The right to information and recifications
You have the right to require information about what personal data Basefarm is processing about you and for what purposes. You are also entitled to have any incomplete or inaccurate data rectified, erased or blocked. Please see the contact information in section 10 should you have any questions about how Basefarm processes your personal data.
10. Basefarm’s contact information
If you have any questions relating to Basefarm’s processing of personal data, or if you want to invoke your right to access data, please contact relevant Basefarm entity on the address set out below:
PO Box 4488
113 46 Stockholm
1119 PP Schiphol-Rijk
11. Security measures
Basefarm has taken the organizational and technical security measures required to protect personal data against unauthorized access, modification and deletion.
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