Generic social engineering attacks may affect a few people but a targeted attack with specific company details are much more effective. Stephanie “Snow” Carruthers, who works for IBM X-Force Red as a social engineering tester, goes into how she gathers information to start a social engineering attack in this article.
Unethical social engineers often use social media to gather information on their target company. Snow points out that 75% of her content from social media comes from new hires. New hires don’t have security training and often advertise to their friends on social media about the new job. Pictures with whiteboards in the background or computer desktops showing what programs are running help in crafting a target email. In the example given if the board has “softball team sign up” on it, then and email titled “softball team schedule” may fool some users. If they make a post with a picture of a badge, then she can copy this and post her own picture on the badge to tailgate through locked doors. With access inside the company, someone could copy passwords left on desks and WI-FI passwords left on whiteboards. In larger companies you may see new people every day, so no one would even question the intruder if they are already inside the company.
A big reason why new hires continue to post these pictures is a lack of training. Many new hires don’t receive security training until weeks after they get started. Having an initial onboard process that covers sharing their work experiences online with social media would go a long way to reduce this vulnerability.