What Is One-time Password (OTP) Social Engineering?

Even if your business has a mature cybersecurity program, there may be one vulnerability that threat actors can still use to steal your company data: your employees. Social engineering has evolved over the years as threat actors deploy new methods of fooling their targets — untrained employees — into granting access to the inner workings of your organization. 

Below, we’ll discuss a sophisticated type of social engineering, one-time password (OTP) attack, and show how this demonstration works so you can protect your organization.


One-time Password Social Engineering Explained

Social Engineering

When you think of cybersecurity, you generally think of online security, such as malware, botnet, phishing, man-in-the-middle, and DDoS attacks. However, in today’s cybersecurity landscape, social engineering blends offline and online hacking methods. 

Social engineering is the act of deceiving others into receiving personal information or access to someone else’s personal information that they don’t have authorization to. This can include both physical and digital forms of authentication, such as keycards, login credentials, and pin numbers. For example, a threat actor may impersonate a coworker or an employee at a bank to convince their target to provide them with the information they need to execute their full hack.

One-time Passwords

A common target for social engineering attacks are one-time passwords. One-time passwords are one-and-done passwords created for temporary login purposes. For example, when you need to verify an account or confirm a login from an unknown device. These passwords are randomly generated and consist of a sequence of letters and numbers.

Since one-time passwords are temporary and generated randomly, they are considered to be safer than a consistent password that’s used repeatedly, especially since many with static passwords forget to update or change them from account to account. This makes them more susceptible to hacks.


What Are One-time Password Social Engineering Attacks?

Hackers can intercept one-time passwords by using automation, such as bots, to generate and access SMS-based one-time passwords (OTP) through social engineering attacks. By impersonating a financial institution, for example, a threat actor can initiate a call claiming that the target needs to use the OTP they receive to log in to their account.


How Can You Protect Yourself From Social Engineering Attacks?

Cybersecurity Awareness Training

By investing in the right cybersecurity awareness training, you can equip your team with the tools and expertise to protect your organization against threats of all different types, including social engineering attacks.

Kevin Mitnick is a world-renowned white hat hacker who has created the ultimate Security Awareness Training Program in partnership with KnowBe4. In his program, you can find all the best cybersecurity practices and tips to protect your company. Kevin’s KnowB4’s awareness training empowers employees to recognize and report suspicious activity and includes:

  • Video lessons.
  • Hands-on activities.
  • Corporate-friendly or edgy episodic shows to choose from, depending on your preference.
  • Live demonstrations that interact and interest your team.
  • And more!

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing can help your organization in the following ways:

Saves Money

By investing in a professional pentesting team, like the Global Ghost Team, you can save up to potentially millions of dollars from a breach. With this amount of money at risk, it’s important to budget your cybersecurity and allocate that budget to the right cybersecurity solutions, such as proven and professional pentesting services.

Mitigate Downtime for Your Operations

Threat actors can initiate social engineering attacks to gain a foothold in your sensitive data and execute their attack. These attacks can range anywhere from data theft to ransomware attacks to viruses. Regardless of the type of follow-up attack to their social engineering hack, your business could face significant downtime, which could cost you potentially millions of dollars.

A skilled pentesting team can identify vulnerabilities into your network to help you patch any weak points, ensuring your operations stay up and running.


Defend Against Social Engineering and One-time Password Attacks

Defense against social engineering requires extensive awareness, research, training, and penetration testing. Download our free cybersecurity checklist, you’ll learn the 5 ½ core steps to creating a healthy and strong security stack to protect your company for years to come.

Topics: penetration testing, cyber security

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