Social engineering occurs when an attacker tries to gain access to equipment or a network by tricking people into providing the necessary access information. Often, the social engineer gains the confidence of an employee and convinces the employee to divulge username and password information.

A social engineer might pose as a technician to try to gain entry into a facility. When inside, the social engineer might look over shoulders to gather information, seek out papers on desks with passwords and phone extensions, or obtain a company directory with email addresses.

Here are some basic precautions to help protect against social engineering: