Social Engineering – Starter

This topic contains 17 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Don Donzal 7 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #6609
     Manannan 
    Participant

    I’m a new blood when it comes to ethical hacking, pentesting, and social engineering and only hold practice and experience as any credential.  If I were going to make a career of social engineering, what Certs/Studies should I seek?  My current thoughts are Sec+, MCSA: Sec, CEH, SSCP, CCNA, CCSP, and finally CISSP.  Is there a more logical progression or something I may have missed?

  • #40971
     cd1zz 
    Participant

    I personally dont know how you’d make a career of just social engineering. SE is a part of a bigger animal. I dont even know of any certs in this arena.

    Are you asking how to get into security or specifically SE?

  • #40972
     sil 
    Participant

    Take psych classes. Period

  • #40973
     lorddicranius 
    Participant

    @sil wrote:

    Take psych classes. Period

    +1

    There’s [free] videos over at Academic Earth too, one class taught at Berkeley, then a full course taught at Yale:

    http://academicearth.org/subjects/psychology

  • #40974
     nonexistententity 
    Participant

    You could always get advice and direction from guys like Chris Hadnagy and Dave Kennedy too:

    http://www.social-engineer.org/
    http://www.secmaniac.com/

    -N33

  • #40975
     Manannan 
    Participant

    Thanks for the replies.  My question was mis-formed and I’m surprised that anyone was able to target in on what I meant, especial so well.  My purpose was to inquire as to a cert path that would help me in Social Engineering and shore up my skills on the technical end.  The psych class suggestion was one avenue I had considered.  I’m looking into a future career in security with an emphasis on the Social Engineering aspects.  Possibly as part of a pentesting career.  Right now, I have interests and motivation but not a course.  I will check the video courses and see about opening a dialog with Chris Hadnagy and Dave Kennedy.  Thanks for the insight and redirecting my question to a answerable one.

  • #40976
     hell_razor 
    Participant

    @sil wrote:

    Take psych classes. Period

    I knew there had to be a use for it sometime…  😛

  • #40977
     tturner 
    Participant

    I was a psych major for 1.5 years but I’m a really bad social engineer in person or over the phone. It’s a much different story when I can establish my scenarios in written text. Some people just don’t have the gift of gab required for really exploiting trust and I don’t think it’s something you can learn. The concepts of how to modify behavior, and learning what makes people tick and how trust relationships work is invaluable and trainable, but delivery is a whole different animal. I recommend recruiting a hot chick to help. It’s way more effective than any pretexting scenario you can deliver yourself (usually)

  • #40978
     lorddicranius 
    Participant

    @tturner wrote:

    I was a psych major for 1.5 years but I’m a really bad social engineer in person or over the phone. It’s a much different story when I can establish my scenarios in written text. Some people just don’t have the gift of gab required for really exploiting trust and I don’t think it’s something you can learn. The concepts of how to modify behavior, and learning what makes people tick and how trust relationships work is invaluable and trainable, but delivery is a whole different animal.

    I’m the same way, I’m really socially awkward.  I need to learn the SET framework haha

    @tturner wrote:

    I recommend recruiting a hot chick to help. It’s way more effective than any pretexting scenario you can deliver yourself (usually)

    lol Very true.

  • #40979
     hell_razor 
    Participant

    @tturner wrote:

    I recommend recruiting a hot chick to help.

    That fixes a lot of “issues”…:)  Might even create new ones.

  • #40980
     Manannan 
    Participant

    I am well aware of the “hot chick” method.  A fireworks stand employed it to drive others out of business. They outsold competition 3:1.

  • #40981
     Don Donzal 
    Keymaster

    Here are some out of the box suggestions in no particular order:

    1. Confidence – This comes with being secure with your knowledge of a technology and/or situation. Experience helps here, too. So go practice. Pick up some women, will you?

    2. Take an acting course and a public speaking course. Try some improv games with your friends. Helps you be swift on your feet when something is thrown at you that’s not expected.

    3. Always have an out. Oh I’m sorry, I was looking for the bathroom. Oops… I am so lost. Or is Dr. Smith’s office in this building? This goes along with a couple concepts we may or may not be familiar with. First is the lawyer’s creed not to ask a question to which you don’t know an answer. Or to go the magic route, the magician’s choice makes it look like the victim is in control, but you really are. Look it up.

    Just some quick thoughts that I hope help point you in some directions to research and eventually try.

    Don

  • #40982
     cd1zz 
    Participant

    If you’ve watched any of Dave Kennedy’s presentations he says he has success doing the following:

    Target an individual in the organization that is new, specifically in Help Desk since there is usually a lot of turn over and they have access to “stuff.” Pretend you’re someone high up in the company, act like its an urgent situation and that you need “help.” It’s human nature to try and fix the problem or help the other person so if you stage the situation appropriately, you can get the results you want. It’s amazing what you can learn about a company on LinkedIn.

    “This is Super High Up Vice President Joe Schmoe, I cant open this PDF and I need it ASAP for a big meeting that starts in 5 minutes… can I email it to you so you can open it for me?”

  • #40983
     dalepearson 
    Participant

    Depending on your definition of Social Engineering you can do it full time, however in my experience you will have other skillsets to leverage also.

    There are no specific certifications for SE, however there are some workshops at conferences that talk about social engineering, and red team engagements that would be of benefit.

    My suggestion is to study the following areas:

    Psychology
    Neuro Linguistic Programming | Hypnosis
    Micro Expressions
    Body Language
    Neuroscience
    I personally also recommend study of Illusionists, Mentalists and Magicians.

    Good luck on your journey.

  • #40984
     Manannan 
    Participant

    Thank you all for your direction and help.  It looks like I have my work cut out for me.  Excellent advice.  Will be watching and learning.

  • #40985
     Solinus 
    Participant

    I am a little late to this conversation, but here is my offering anyway. I whole-heartedly endorse the earlier link to social-engineer.org This is a great site with many great resources. I also suggest the following books:
    Kevin Mitnick – Art of Deception, Art of Intrusion and his latest Ghost in The Wires. These are great books with real valuable examples.

    And Social Engineering – The Art of Human Hacking by Christopher Hadnagy this is a new book and has very good reviews. I have read it myself and found it to be one of the best. It gives a very solid methodology to performing Social Engineering. I believe it it the first time a methodology has actually been laid out for Social Engineering.

    Then I would suggest that you just spend a lot of time observing. Retail stores and malls are great learning environments. If you can set yourself up where you can here people on phone conversations you will find a wealth of data to study. Take notes as you observe them. I try to find business people in a food court that are on their cell phones, I sit next to them and listen to their end of the conversation. Is it a sales call? A meeting? what are his mannerisms while he is speaking? Is he eliciting information?

    The world is the best place to go to learn how to deal with people.

  • #40986
     MaXe 
    Participant

    Not sure if this was mentioned, but Ninja Hacking by Thomas Wilhelm may be of interest to you as well  🙂

  • #40987
     Don Donzal 
    Keymaster

    Good points Solinus. I was recently called for jury duty. This is an awesome place for people watching as there’s not only a strong mix of people in the jury pool being from a cross-section of society, but it’s also interesting to see professionals, lawyers and accused in the same environment.

    It’s fun to pick out a person and see if you can figure out what they do for a living, their background, etc. Then go talk to them and see if you’re right.

    It even made jury duty fun. Go figure.

    Don

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