Sunday, November 9, 2008

Social Engineering: 8 Common Tactics

Famous hacker Kevin Mitnick helped popularize the term 'social engineering' in the '90s, but the simple idea itself (tricking someone into doing something or divulging sensitive information) has been around for ages. And experts say hackers today continue to steal password, install malware or grab profits by employing a mix of old and new tactics.

Here's a refresher course on some of the most prevalent social engineering tricks used by phone, e-mail and Web.
1. 10 degrees of separation

The number one goal of a social engineer who uses the telephone as his modus operandi is to convince his target that he is either 1) a fellow employee or 2) a trusted outside authority (such as law enforcement or an auditor). But if his ultimate goal is to gain information from or about employee X, his first calls or e-mails might go to a different person.

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