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Is Phishing Social Engineering?

Phishing is when someone tries to trick you into trusting them so they can steal information. It's a type of social engineering, which means using tricks to manipulate people. This article talks about how phishing is part of social engineering. It explains how bad guys pretend to be someone you know or trust to trick you.

Is Phishing Social Engineering?

Is Phishing Social Engineering? Yes, phishing is considered a form of social engineering.

Phishing is a form of social engineering that uses psychological manipulation to trick users into divulging confidential information or taking actions that compromise security. Social engineering refers to the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. A key component of social engineering attacks is that they exploit human vulnerabilities rather than technological vulnerabilities.

Phishing vs Social Engineering: What’s the Difference?

Phishing and social engineering are inter-connected yet distinct concepts in cyber security. Phishing involves sending misleading emails or messages. It often pretends to be reliable entities to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information like passwords, financial details, or personal data.

Social engineering, conversely, refers to a wider range of manipulative techniques that exploit human psychology and trust. Although phishing is a type of social engineering, the latter includes several methods beyond email-based attacks. These can be pretexting, baiting, and tailgating.

A screenshot of someone on a cybercrime forum sharing a phishing page tutorial.png
Image 1: A screenshot of someone on a cybercrime forum sharing a phishing page tutorial

Consider the tutorial shared on a cybercrime forum above. The user describes phishing as a single technique.

A screenshot of someone on a cybercrime forum looking for a social engineer.png
Image 2: A screenshot of someone on a cybercrime forum looking for a social engineer

In contrast, here is an advertisement seeking someone specializing in social engineering. The candidate is expected to generate ideas based on target customers, implying various techniques.

Is Phishing A Form Of Social Engineering?

Yes, phishing is included in the category of social engineering techniques. Phishing is based on controlling human behavior. They particularly focus on curiosity and trust to accomplish their goals.

Phishing attacks try to trick people into doing things that threaten their security. They use psychological concepts and take advantage of weaknesses in human nature. Phishing tactics can be sophisticated email scams, fraudulent websites, or deceptive phone calls. They use social engineering techniques to trick and control unsuspecting victims.

How Is Social Engineering Used In Phishing Attacks?

Below is a table that lists some of the most popular social engineering tactics used in phishing campaigns.

Sense of UrgencyTricks you into acting fast by claiming an emergency.
Appearance of AuthorityLooks official, using real logos and styles to gain trust.
FamiliarityUses your details to seem known and trustworthy.
LikabilityTalks casually to make you like and trust them.
ReciprocationOffers something to get you to respond.
Social ProofSays others are doing it to make you follow.
ScarcityClaims an offer is running out to make you act quickly.
CuriosityTeases with secrets to make you want to know more.

Most popular social engineering tactics

Watch the video below and learn phishing in 6 minutes:

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Additionally, watch our full product demo below to see how Keepnet Labs products can help you train your employees with security awareness training product and various phishing simulation tools to prevent social engineering phishing attacks:



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You'll learn how to:
tickCreate different social engineering simulation templates and test your employees
tickUse our free AI-powered phishing simulation and evaluate your human weaknesses across your organization
tickCreate a detailed report and benchmark your security culture among other industries

Frequently Asked Questions

What is phishing in the context of social engineering?

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Phishing is a tactic used in social engineering. Attackers send fraudulent emails, SMS messages or any other communication method to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information.

How does phishing work as a form of social engineering?

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It manipulates human psychology, using trust or fear to convince victims to click links, download attachments, or provide personal data.

Why is phishing considered a successful social engineering technique?

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Because it exploits human vulnerabilities, such as curiosity or fear, making it easier for attackers to bypass technical security measures.

How can I protect myself from phishing and other social engineering attacks?

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Be skeptical of unsolicited messages, use two-factor authentication, regularly update your software, and educate yourself on the latest phishing techniques.

Are there different types of phishing attacks?

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Yes, including spear phishing (targeted at specific individuals), whaling (aimed at high-profile targets), smishing (phishing via SMS), Quishing ( phishing via QR codes), and Voice Phishing.

What measures can businesses take to prevent phishing attacks among employees?

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Implement security awareness training, use phishing reporter tools, use email filtering tools, establish clear protocols for handling sensitive information, and conduct regular security audits.

Where can I learn more about protecting myself from social engineering tactics like phishing?

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Many cybersecurity websites, government agencies, and non-profit organizations offer resources and training materials on recognizing and defending against phishing and social engineering. You can also use Google to find online security awareness training or click here for free phishing awareness training by Keepnet Labs.

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