How to spot Social Engineering- An interview with Edward Hamilton, Cowens IT Manager Risk Management & Advice

How to spot Social Engineering- An interview with Edward Hamilton, Cowens IT Manager

Modern digital “Social Engineering” is on the rise and Cowens IT Manager, Edward Hamilton, has the following advice for anyone in doubt of the professionalism of these individuals conducting these intrusive and fraudulent acts and the implications for you as an individual or a company.

Edward Hamilton comments- “This is the process of convincing a victim to willingly send money to a Hacker using very, VERY convincing conversation.

I have personally had experience of three friends in the last few months who were on the verge of losing money to these types of attacks and whilst it is most likely you will get a call from these hackers as a home user, the benefit of this advice does also carry over to your work. I am not attempting to scare with the following points, but these hackers are professional and organised. So please pay attention on these brief guidelines to stop you becoming their next victim:

  • If in ANY doubt when someone calls you from a Bank or Internet Service Provider or Software Company, hang up and call them directly using a previously known number. Even if you were expecting a call from that company. This is the same advice as don’t reply to a suspicious email, just use existing contact details you already trust. If the Hacker calls you back, do the same thing again – Call the company directly or get advice from your local trusted IT Manager. Just to note, you will never receive a legitimate call from Microsoft – tell them you will alert the police and to not call back.
  • No-one and I mean NO-ONE that you do not trust implicitly, will EVER ask you to download and run a file on your Computer. If they do, do NOT do it. This allows the hacker full access to your computer. Once that happens, literally everything you access is now compromised. Once you realise what has happened, you will (or should) spend the next few days changing the passwords on literally everything. And your online identity is also now at risk and you have now been added to a list of targets that is shared amongst criminals. You can then expect more calls of a similar nature.
  • There are various, very clever ways of convincing you the caller is legitimate. This is called Social Engineering and several very switched on individuals I know, have been caught out.
  • If you pay these criminals, in most cases you will not be able to recover the payment from the bank because ‘you’ paid them and the money was not stolen.
  • So – you get a call, you think it is legitimate. You allow them to run some stuff on your PC. At some point you think – this does not feel right. You must immediately kill your internet connection. Simplest way is to turn off your main router. That will buy you some time to speak to your bank to freeze your account but you must act quickly. It becomes a race against time to stop money disappearing from your online bank accounts and remove access to critical things like your email account. Your computer must also be checked for any surreptitious software before it is allowed back onto the internet.

If you are a business and are concerned about your cyber risks, please contact Cowens on 01623 649931 or

Cowens- Insuring your future today…Ensuring your future tomorrow


Related Posts

As insurance premiums rise be sure to take the right advice from an independent broker
House & Personal Insurance As insurance premiums rise be sure to take the right advice from an independent broker Car, commercial, cyber… in a fast-changing market you can rely on Cowens for the right advice. It’s hard… Read More
Driving in Winter Weather: Cowens’ Essential Guide
Driving in Winter Weather: Cowens’ Essential Guide The Winter weather is getting increasingly extreme, with even more harsh conditions predicted for the months ahead.  Although… Read More
BIBA logo Logo Chartered Financial Planners logo Logo Chartered Financial brokers logo Logo UNA Logo Logo Investors in People Gold award Logo