Blagging (Cybersecurity)

What Is Blagging?

Blagging is a slang term used to collect someone’s personal and confidential information without that person’s consent. It’s a type of phishing attack under the cover of social engineering.

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There are multiple blagging techniques used by hackers these days to steal information.

Social Engineering in Blagging

Many people are guilty of revealing too much personal information on their social accounts.

Even over the phone or in face-to-face conversations, it is easy to make yourself vulnerable by providing confidential information, from full names to account credentials, pictures, contact addresses, and more.

Cyber offenders look for such personal data for blagging attacks.

How Does Blagging Work?

  • Impersonation

The hacker pretends to be an official, for instance, a company employee, a bank executive, or a police officer. It builds confidence in the target’s mind.

As an example, hackers may call pretending to be IT tech support and ask the victim for a password to fix a computer issue.

  • False Urgency

The scammer pressures the targetted person by making the request time-critical. They threaten to close accounts or take legal action to extract information quickly by giving the target insufficient time to verify the request’s legitimacy.

  • Phishing

Blaggers use phishing techniques by sending malicious codes through emails or links, intending to infect the target person’s computer devices and steal confidential data.

These emails usually seem to come from trusted sources, and if the victim clicks the malicious link, software or spyware can be downloaded and installed.

  • USB Drop Attack

In this attack, blaggers leave infected malware-laden devices like USB drives in public areas where victims will likely notice and pick them up.

Once plugged into a device, blaggers gain access to the victim’s system.

Usually, car parks, coffee shops, and elevators are the most popular places for this attack.

Also, be careful of USB devices given away at crypto events!

  • Sympathy Ploys

Scammers play on the victim’s empathy by using fake emotional narratives for manipulation, for instance, emotive appeals around needing money for their children or following natural disasters.

  • Quid Pro Quo

Fraudsters provide (fake) incentives like bonuses, cash, or profit-sharing in exchange for information.

  • Tailgating

Blaggers tail an employee physically into a premises or restricted zone to gain access.

They rely on people holding doors open or not inquiring about their appearance.

  • Elicitation

Blaggers begin friendly conversations to extract information about systems, processes, or vulnerabilities.

Preventive Measures

  • Verify Claims

If someone claims to be an IT tech support guy or a colleague needing information, stop and call back using an official number to ensure its authenticity.

Verify email addresses, names, and contact details closely for further confirmation.

  • Validate Requests

As an employee, investigate any uncommon requests, even if they seem important or “it’s an emergency.”

Escalate it to a manager or raise a ticket through proper channels.

  • Restrict Account Access

Employers should allow employees the minimum access required for their work.

For example, customer care agents likely don’t need access to financial systems.

  • Report Suspicious Activity

If a request looks suspicious or fishy, raise your concerns. Inform the security or management team immediately if you suspect a blagging attempt.

Keep observing the systems and user behavior for unusual activities.

  • Security Awareness Training

Alert and trained workers are more likely to identify and prevent blagging attempts.

Educating people is necessary to defend against social engineering, and training curriculums should be equipped with real-world incidents and examples.

  • Layered Security

Implement multiple security measures instead of trusting just one system.

This security multi-model should have physical security controls, endpoint security, email security, access controls, and data-loss prevention tools.

The Bottom Line

Unlike most cyber threats, cybersecurity solutions can not prevent blagging. Appeals to human nature can not be caught so easily by anti-malware software or firewalls. The way to protect against it is to be alert, trained, act with caution, and react swiftly to incidents. 

Always verify the legitimacy of the person you’re interacting with online or over the phone, and never provide essential documents or information without independently and cautiously checking their authorization.

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Related Terms

Kuntal Chakraborty
Technology Writer

Kuntal Chakraborty is an Information Technology Engineer by profession and education and the founder of Philarity.com. He has rich technical expertise working as a Systems Engineer and Network Engineer at Siemens and Atos. Kuntal has also worked in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) domains in different roles. Besides, he has a deep interest in Cyber security and published a few articles on it in some international publications. He has also created and successfully published some Alexa skills as a part of Amazon Alexa crowd developer community.