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Reverse Social Engineering

Last updated on April 17, 2022

A Quick Guide to Understanding Reverse Social Engineering

When it comes to cyber security, it’s not uncommon for organizations to be unaware of certain weaknesses, security threats, or poor implementation of their security procedures. However, these are exploited through severe social engineering. That’s a big issue because it can lead to security breaches that may compromise the entire network or system of the organization.

What Is Reverse Social Engineering?

Reverse social engineering is a typical social engineering attack and it’s a person-to-person attack where the victim is convinced to provide sensitive information about themselves or access to their system/network through deception. Advanced security procedures are a must and skilled security personnel are a must to prevent them.

Reverse Social Engineering vs. Social Engineering

The main difference between reverse social engineering and social engineering is in the approach. In a social engineering scheme, the attacker approaches the target directly. In a reverse social engineering scheme, hackers compel the target to approach them instead by providing a solution to the problem they’ve created.

How Does a Reverse Social Engineering Attack Work?

A reverse social engineering attack begins with a phishing link. Once you click on it and the malicious software is downloaded, it will start affecting the system. When that happens, the attacker may contact the victim under the guise of being someone with authority or they will trick the victim into contacting them first to create trust.

Then, they will claim to help you solve the issue for a fee or even for free. Once you give them access to the system, they will fix the issue but they will also create a back door to keep track of what you do online and steal your information.

How to Mitigate Reverse Social Engineering Attacks?

Reverse social engineering is very effective because it causes people to panic and it creates a need for the attacker to intervene since you think they’re saving you. Here are a few things you can do to mitigate reverse social engineering attacks:

Provide Proper Training

Creating cybersecurity awareness is one of the best ways to mitigate reverse social engineering. Attackers are great at manipulation and if people in the organization don’t know what to beware of, they will fall pretty easily. Educate employees on how to recognize different kinds of attacks and provide instructions.

Adopt a Call-Back Procedure

Most organizations use employee numbers which allow for authentication. With the adoption of a call-back procedure, employees will be able to authenticate the identity of the caller by calling them back on the personal mobile number that’s registered in the organization’s records.

Leverage Technical Security Features

Operating systems come with technical security features that allow users to do certain things that can help when it comes to SRE. For example, they allow users to see when their system was last used and from where and set up expiration dates for passwords.


Reverse social engineering is one of the biggest threats for organizations because it’s so successful. However, educating employees and preparing them will make a big difference and it will keep the organization safe.

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