Social Engineering 101: Focus On Informal Conversations
from the just-don't-promise-to-protect-the-info dept
In the past, we’ve covered plenty of stories about social engineering to get people to admit stuff they shouldn’t — suggesting you really just need to ask people to give up personal info and they will (sometimes giving them a gift helps, but just asking alone will often do the trick). The latest study does go a little deeper, however, suggesting that the more informal the setting, the more likely people are to cough up info. For example, it found that when those asked for confidential information were promised that it wouldn’t be misused they were less likely to hand over the info. Instead, if there were no promises about what would be done with the info at all, people felt that it was more informal and were more willing to give up the info. Another experiment asked people to reveal “bad” activities to a website. In one test, the website was made to look like a university website, and in another an informal site with the title “How BAD are U??” Not surprisingly, the latter got a lot more people to cough up the details of bad behavior. In that case, I’d even wonder if the “competitive” nature of the question (suggesting that you should want to be “badder” than others) also helped contribute to the openness of individuals.