Social Engineering Techniques – Pretexting

Social Engineering Techniques – Pretexting

Pretexting is a social engineering technique wherein a hacker uses false pretenses to engage with with his/her intended victim in order to get information from that target. Basically it’s a lie with a made-up story to go along with it. Pretexting is often used to gain trust, and when trust is gained by the pretexter, data and privacy are in danger.

A classic example of pretexting in the offline world is someone pretending to be a pizza delivery guy (or gal) to gain access to the front door of a house. Once the door is open, the would-be criminal can peek inside, look for valuables, guard dogs, and the layout of the home. Pretexting in the online world tends to be electronic, such as IMing with someone over a long period of time and gaining their trust on a social networking site by pretending to be someone they aren’t.

Pretexting can be found anywhere sensitive information or privacy issue are a concern: your home, your work, or even you local cable company.

It would be virtually impossible to steer clear of a master pretexter, but you can keep your eyes (and ears) open (figuratively speaking) for someone online or offline who seems relatively innocuous at first, but then gets a little too nosy. Just remember that loose lips sink ships and you should be fine.

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/flipmovie/.

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About Jon

Jon has worked in the tech industry since the pre-Bubble dotcom days and still has a 1200 Baud modem somewhere in his garage. When he's not advocating the use of strong passwords and being smart about social media, he's working on finding new ways to convince his wife that bacon is a vegetable which should be eaten with every meal.

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