Common Targets of Social Engineering

An attacker will look for targets of opportunity or potential victims who have the most to offer. Some common targets include receptionists, help desk personnel, users, executives, system administrators, and outside vendors. Let’s look at each and see why this is. Receptionists—one of the first people visitors see in many companies—represent prime targets. They see a lot of people go in and out of an office, and they hear a lot of things. Establishing a rapport with these individuals can easily yield information that’s useful on its own or for future attacks.

Help desk personnel offer another tempting and valuable target due to the information they may have about infrastructure, among other things. Filing fake support requests or asking these personnel leading-questions can yield valuable information.

System administrators can also be valuable targets of opportunity, again due to the information they possess. The typical administrator can be counted on to have very high-level knowledge of infrastructure and applications as well as future development plans. Additionally, some system admins possess far-reaching knowledge about the entire company’s network and infrastructure. Given the right enticements and some effort, these targets can yield tremendous amounts of information.