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Social engineering is a method of manipulating individuals into divulging confidential information, performing actions, or compromising their security through psychological manipulation and trickery. It doesn't rely on exploiting technical vulnerabilities but rather exploits human psychology. Social engineering attacks can take various forms, including:

1. Phishing: Attackers send deceptive emails or messages that appear to come from a legitimate source, such as a bank or a trusted organization, to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information like passwords or credit card details.

2. Pretexting: This involves creating a fabricated scenario or pretext to obtain information or access. For example, someone might impersonate a coworker, claim to be from IT support, and request sensitive information to help with a fictional issue.

3. Baiting: Attackers use enticing offers or downloads to lure individuals into clicking on malicious links or opening infected files. This can lead to malware infections or data breaches.

4. Tailgating: In physical security, tailgating involves following an authorized person into a restricted area, taking advantage of their access. In social engineering, it refers to an attacker gaining physical access to a secure facility by simply following an authorized person.

5. Quid Pro Quo: Attackers offer something in exchange for sensitive information or access. For instance, they might pose as IT support and offer to fix a computer problem in return for login credentials.

6. Impersonation: Attackers pretend to be someone they are not, often someone in authority or a position of trust. This could involve impersonating a company executive to request wire transfers or divulge sensitive information.

7. Reverse Social Engineering: In this scenario, the attacker convinces the victim that they need help or support and manipulates them into providing information or assistance.

8. Dumpster Diving: This is a physical form of social engineering where attackers rummage through an organization's trash or recycling to find sensitive information like documents, old hardware, or discarded media.

Social engineering can be highly effective because it exploits human psychology, trust, and the willingness to help. To defend against social engineering attacks, individuals and organizations should raise awareness, implement security policies and procedures, and use various safeguards like two-factor authentication, email filtering, and employee training to recognize and prevent such manipulative tactics.

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