Social engineering tactics usually utilize the following principles:

  • Consensus: when a social engineer convinces victims that they have already been trusted by others.
  • Familiarity: when a social engineer uses charisma and likability to get a victim to complete a request.
  • Urgency: when a social engineer creates a sense of urgency or scarcity to put time pressure on a victim.
  • Authority: a high-risk strategy in which a social engineer attempts to intimidate a victim or claim authority over them.

While these principles describe the high-level concepts of social engineering, there are many more specific strategies used as well, and we will talk about them in this lesson.

Many of these strategies can be used for both offense and reconnaissance. Reconnaissance is the process of interacting with a target in order to gain more information about it.

Reconnaissance is very important in social engineering because having information about a target makes it much easier for a social engineer to manipulate them. The rise of social media means there is often no shortage of information about a target available online.


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