Nonelectronic Attacks

Nonelectronic—or nontechnical attacks—are attacks that do not employ any technical knowledge. This kind of attack can include social engineering, shoulder surfing, keyboard sniffing, and dumpster diving.
Social engineering is the art of interacting with people either face to face or over the telephone and getting them to give out valuable information such as passwords. Social engineering relies on people's good nature and desire to help others. Many times, a help desk is the target of a social-engineering attack because their job is to help people—and recovering or resetting passwords is a common function of the help desk. The best defense against social-engineering attacks is security-awareness training for all employees and security procedures for resetting passwords.

Shoulder surfing involves looking over someone's shoulder as they type a password. This can be effective when the hacker is in close proximity to the user and the system. Special screens that make it difficult to see the computer screen from an angle can cut down on shoulder surfing. In addition, employee awareness and training can virtually eliminate this type of attack.
Dumpster diving hackers look through the trash for information such as passwords, which may be written down on a piece of paper. Again, security awareness training on shredding important documents can prevent a hacker from gathering passwords by dumpster diving.

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