social engineering

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social engineering

(jargon, security)
A term used among crackers and samurai for cracking techniques that rely on weaknesses in wetware rather than software; the aim is to trick people into revealing passwords or other information that compromises a target system's security. Classic scams include phoning up a mark who has the required information and posing as a field service tech or a fellow employee with an urgent access problem. See also the tiger team story in the patch entry.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)

social engineering

Using deception to obtain confidential information from someone by phone or in person. For example, "social engineers" may persuade someone to reveal an ID or password for a supposed benign purpose ("my computer is down, can I use yours in the meantime"). They can even walk in off the street and pretend to be from IT doing a routine inspection.

Sometimes, a combination of social engineering and hacker skills are used to steal information. However, no matter how secure a network may be, the "con" played by the social engineer is often the most effective way to break in.

The Generic Meaning
Outside the computer world, social engineering means to influence attitudes and behaviors. See phishing, pretexting and shoulder surfing.
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References in periodicals archive ?
They look at law as a brick in the building of the social edifice and as a means to advance the public welfare; they metamorphose from being mere legal technicians to being social engineers who view the law not as an end by itself, but as an instrument in the building of a just society.
But this is exactly the kind of thinking that social engineers bank on," says Jonathan John B.
Some, even after knowing may fall into the traps set by a cunning social engineer (i.e., attacker).
"As an experienced social engineer, I've seen how easy it is to manipulate people and policies to gain access where it shouldn't be granted," warns Kurzynski.
Although it states the obvious, that sensitive company information shouldn't be given out randomly, it does point to ways that the social engineer can obtain enough information to pass themselves off as someone who they are not in order to obtain the information they actually want.
The social engineer often poses as a person who's in a tight situation--a temp who can't access some files he needs to work on or a consultant on deadline who needs access or she's in real trouble--and the mark is put into a situation where he or she can really help.
* Social Engineer Akin to a con man or other sociopath, the social engineer manipulates people to gain access to systems.
But even here, the progressive social engineer's task is not complete.
From the endless list of utopians, anarchists, political thinkers, and speculators on the future of science, technology, and society, illustratively there are prophet nationalist Mickiewicz, Christian democratic Lammenais, social engineer Comte, and social scientist and utopian, Marx.
In the hubris and insensitivity of their high modernist architects, the two cases share a good deal; much else, including the forces that gave rise to the state-sponsored social engineer ing projects, provides a study in contrasts.
The first is called spear phishing wherein social engineers target and focus on a specific individual or organization.
The social engineers of the past were trying to wield the state's repressive weight and facilities to recast society in conformity with AtatE-rk's principles and revolutions.

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