Study Reveals Over 8 In 10 Of US Consumers Have Encountered Social Engineering Behavior Online

A study by NordVPN reveals that 84% of all US consumers have experienced some form or another of social engineering online, giving weight to the argument that cybercrime has gotten well out of hand.

Well, I for one am happy that NordVPN has found something else to do outside of sponsoring every existing YouTuber on the platform. Honestly though, pretty happy about the sponsorships, they enable me to keep watching my favorite content creators. Now, coming back to the story at hand, the headline “cybercrime is getting out of hand” won’t elicit anything more than a shrug or an indifferent nod. Honestly, we all are well acquainted with cybercriminals getting the better of online users through any manner of trickery and deception. Everyone knows about the grandma who decided to send a few bucks because the son of a Nigerian prince emailed her begging for assistance. However, I feel that what we fail to realize is just how much the art (ugh) of social engineering is evolving, and how an increasing number of individuals, many of whom are well acquainted with online spaces, are getting ensnared in the process.

For those individuals unaware, social engineering refers to any means of online crime and deception which involves tricking or manipulating users into harm’s way. This most often takes the form of phishing: a form of cybercrime where malicious actors will trick users into giving away personal information under the guise of appearing as legitimate handles or platforms. For example, a common form of phishing nowadays is users being sent links to faux social media platform login sites. Users type in their account details into a website that perfectly emulates its real social media counterpart, and thus gives away their account to malicious users.

My point is, the NordVPN research details that over 80% of the US populace has encountered such cybercrime, and 36% of these individuals fell for the attempts. They also lost access to accounts and even gave away sensitive credit card information in the process. That’s a surprising amount of individuals, and because they were able to accurately identify said attempts meant that there was at least some level of awareness with regards to phishing or other forms of social engineering. The problem isn’t that people are dumb enough to fall for cybercriminals, it’s that they’re getting smarter by the day.

Read next: Users Don’t Trust Social Media Platforms Anymore According to New Study
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