The Art of Human Hacking Part 9

Involving personal interests is a good way to better the chances of success in a social engineering experiment. Nothing will make a conversation fall short faster than a person who claims to be knowledgeable about a specific topic, only for them to show that they truly have no idea what they are talking about. While pretexting it is important to insert topics and activities that you are genuinely interested in. Doing this gives you the ability to portray intelligence as well as confidence. Confidence can go a long way when it comes to convincing a target. Even if you are asked something you know nothing about and as long as you know your target does not also possess this knowledge, as long as you show confidence you can pull false answers from thin air and display them as truth and come off as a trustworthy source of information.

Again, as a social engineer, doing research is the most important thing to keep in mind. That is why picking topics to add to your pretext that you are interested in is so important. Making sure you have the drive to look into and learn allows you to feel more comfortable when stepping into the persona you have built. Dr. Tom G. Stevens, PHD says, “It is important to remember that self-confidence is always relative to the task and situation. We have different levels of confidence in different situations.” Your confidence builds up that trust and rapport that lets people feel at ease. All you need to do is find the avenue to your desired target that offers a chance to talk about your intended topic.

Your next skill you would need to develop is the ability to speak with different dialects and accents. For some, this will come naturally. For others, this will be extremely difficult if not impossible. Though it isn’t a mandatory skill for social engineering, it is recommended. Why? Statistically speaking, 70% of Americans prefer to listen to people with a British accent. Could this be helpful to you? Sure it can! However, this doesn’t mean you should start quoting expressions that you picked up from watching the latest rendition of Mary Poppins. You’d be more successful in painting yourself blue and learning to control an arrow with the sound of a whistle.

Nerd references aside, despite being in a different location you should imitate the local accent if you are not capable of replicating it. “When in doubt, throw it out.” (Keep that phrase in mind with all the skills used by SEs. If it isn’t mandatory for the interaction then it may be most to proceed without.) Actors spend long hours practicing in training sessions and with vocal coaches in order to speak clearly in their roles. But for social engineers, we don’t have that kind of money. (Not usually anyways). Thankfully there are many publications written that can help you learn the basics of replicating an accent.

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