Volume 13, Number 2

A Literature Survey and Analysis on Social Engineering Defense Mechanisms and Infosec Policies


Dalal Alharthi and Amelia Regan, University of California Irvine, USA


Social engineering attacks can be severe and hard to detect. Therefore, to prevent such attacks, organizations should be aware of social engineering defense mechanisms and security policies. To that end, the authors developed a taxonomy of social engineering defense mechanisms, designed a survey to measure employee awareness of these mechanisms, proposed a model of Social Engineering InfoSec Policies (SE-IPs), and designed a survey to measure the incorporation level of these SE-IPs. After analyzing the data from the first survey, the authors found that more than half of employees are not aware of social engineering attacks. The paper also analyzed a second set of survey data, which found that on average, organizations incorporated just over fifty percent of the identified formal SE-IPs. Such worrisome results show that organizations are vulnerable to social engineering attacks, and serious steps need to be taken to elevate awareness against these emerging security threats.


Cybersecurity, Social Engineering, Employee Awareness, Defense Mechanisms, Security Policies.