What is Pretexting? How does Pretexting work?

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What is Pretexting? How does Pretexting work?

What is Pretexting Definition?

Pretexting is a form of social engineering attack in which the intruder tries to trick the target into divulging confidential information or taking a specific action that will help the attacker.  To earn the target’s trust and persuade them to divulge the necessary data or carry out the necessary action, the threat actor fabricates a pretext or false scenario.

In addition, a representative of a customer service or technical support agent or someone that claims to be an individual in a position of power, like a company CEO or a member of the law enforcement community.  The perpetrator may utilize a number of strategies to control the victim, including developing a rapport, preying on emotions such as anxiety or urgency, or taking advantage of the target’s willingness to assist or appease others.

Moreover, pretexting can sincerely be employed to enter secure locations or computer systems, as well as sensitive data such as passwords, financial information, and personal information.  It is frequently used by cybercriminals to obtain sensitive data or to carry out other kinds of fraud.

How does Pretexting work?

Generally, the pretext includes posing as another person or entity, such as a real company, a government body, a research organization, or a financial firm.  The intention is to gather sensitive data, including passwords, bank details, Social Security numbers, as well as other private details.  Pretexting is forbidden in the US and the majority of other nations.

Pretexting Techniques

Several methodologies or techniques are genuinely involved in pretexting, where these pretexting techniques are highly curated by a person who is pretending to be a legitimate person for an ethical job, which is quite okay in the eyes of society and law, but the reality is quite different from what it seems!

Here, we have mentioned some of the famous pretexting techniques that are highly employed by anti-social elements:

  • Impersonation: To earn the target’s confidence and persuade them to divulge critical information, the adversary may assume the identity of a well-known individual or organization, such as a company CEO, law enforcement official, or customer service representative.
  • Tailgating: An unlawful person trailing an authorized personnel into a restricted facility without the necessary identification or clearance is known as tailgating.
  • Piggybacking: Information technology employs the term “piggybacking” to describe the unlawful utilization of a computer system or network by a person who is not explicitly connected to it.  Typically, piggybacking entails joining an already-established communication an authenticated person has made.
  • Baiting: As a general rule, baiting is a form of social engineering attack where a target is enticed on something appealing, like a free good or service, in order to fool them into divulging personal data or carrying out an action that is advantageous to the threat actor.
  • Phishing: It is the practice of tricking targets into divulging personal details or taking an action that is advantageous to the threat actor by using false emails, texts, or websites.
  • Vishing and Smishing: The social engineering attacks known as “vishing” and “smishing,” which rely on calls and text messages to deceive targets into revealing personal info, are two examples of this type of activity.  Vishing often referred to as voice phishing, is a kind of attack in which the threat actor calls the target and makes an attempt to coerce them into disclosing personal details, such as banking information or passwords.  Smishing is a sort of attack when SMS texts are used to persuade victims to click on harmful links or submit personal data.  These two techniques are employed to steal both money and private data.
  • Scareware: Scareware is malicious software that is typically presented to users via deceptive pop-up messages and websites.  It is designed to scare users into believing their computer is infected with a virus or other malware and then encourages them to purchase the malicious software in order to fix the problem.  Scareware can also contain malicious code that further infects the user’s computer.

Common Pretexting Attacks Examples

In this world, numerous common pretexting attack examples can be pointed out to showcase the various numbers of anti-social activities that are going on globally to befool the common people and obtain their hard-earned money through wrong practices.

Moreover, some of the common pretexting attack examples are there as follows in the table:

Attack Definition
CEO fraud The adversary poses as the CEO or another senior leader in the organization and asks an individual for confidential material, such as financial or personnel information.
Tech support scam The offender persuades the target to grant remote access to one’s computer by posing as a technical assistance agent from an established business.  The attacker might then introduce malware or take private data.
Bank phishing The adversary transmits the target an email or text message that looks to be from a reputable bank and requests that they update their account details or click on a link in the email or text message.  The link can take the victim to a bogus website where their login information is stolen.
Government impersonation The offender asks for private details or the payment of a fine while assuming to be a representative of a government organization like the IRS or Social Security Administration.  If the target does not comply, they might be warned about legal repercussions or even arrested.
Human resources scam The adversary asks an individual for private details, like their Social Security number or bank account details, while posing as a human resources professional.

How to Prevent Pretexting?

So far, there can be some prominent ways by which one can safeguard oneself or one’s enterprise from any type of pretexting attacks, such as the following:

  • Educate employees
  • Implement strict access control policies
  • Use two-factor authentication
  • Monitor network activity
  • Use strong passwords and encryption

Difference between Phishing and Pretexting

Phishing attacks frequently make use of phony emails or websites that look like they are coming from a reliable source, such as a bank or social media site.  In addition, the target will frequently be asked by the intruder for confidential info, such as login passwords, credit card details, or other personal details.  In order to perpetrate fraud or identity theft, phishing attacks seek to get this information.

In another context, pretexting attacks entail the employing of a fake pretext or contrived scenario to fool the victim into disclosing sensitive information.  Moreover, this could involve pretending to be a reliable person, such as a bank employee or corporate executive, and asking for private info as part of a fictitious transaction or investigation.  Pretexting is likewise intended to collect sensitive data, but the threat actor employs a distinct tack by fabricating a scenario or persona in order to acquire the victim’s confidence.


About what is pretexting.

1: What is pretexting in information security?

Pretexting is a form of social engineering attack in which the intruder tries to trick the target into divulging confidential information or taking a specific action that will help the attacker.  To earn the target’s trust and persuade them to divulge the necessary data or carry out the necessary action, the threat actor fabricates a pretext or false scenario.

2: What is pretexting in cyber attack?

Pretexting is a type of social engineering method being utilized in cyber-attacks to trick people into disclosing private information or taking specific actions that are advantageous to the intruder.

3: What is an example of pretexting?

CEO Fraud is a pretty famous example of pretexting.

4: Why is pretexting used?

As it is badly famous, pretexting is employed to obtain highly confidential and sensitive type of information from an organization or institution in order to make some illegal benefits for one’s own gains.

5: Is pretexting illegal?

Yes, in most countries of the world, employing varied pretexting techniques is sincerely illegal.

Wrapping Up

In the bottom line, we have sincerely tried our best to elaborate on the prominent factors related or pretexting and its corresponding terms.  Moreover, if a person is willing to know more about the same context so deeply, the same can go for a globally recognized 1 Year Diploma in Cyber Security Course by Craw Security, the best cybersecurity training institute in India, which offers world-class training environment under the guidance of primetime mentors having many years of authentic experience in their respective trades of cybersecurity.

Call us at +91-9513805401 to know more about the upcoming batches at Craw Security.


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