- Sharon Grey
I have always been fascinated with con artists. Not the ones that sit behind a computer and ask that you ‘rescue’ them from a prison in Rwanda so they can fly to you and will you their Grandfather’s riches. No, those guys are cowards.
The con artists I’m referring to are the Abagnales of the world, the ones that crawled and walked so that Nigerian Princes could run.
Anyone can hide behind a keyboard to do whatever, but the con artistry is only fully appreciated when it is a physical interaction because then, every move you make has the potential to either credit or discredit you.
It’s subtle, it’s pretty deep, it’s sensational, it’s an assumption of characteristics and features — it’s an electric emotional bond.
If you are the target, you are not sure WHY you feel the way you feel but what you don’t know is that every move has been designed to make you feel exactly the way you do.
It’s mind-boggling, isn’t it? — the psychology behind it can be attributed to the amoral field of social engineering.
A quick search on Google will tell you that social engineering is ‘the use of deception to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes’. Meh.
While this is largely true, I’d say the preceding paragraph is a flippant definition for a disruptive social tool, and I don’t blame anyone for perceiving it this way because people fear what they don’t understand.
The thing about lies is that the liar dresses it up so beautifully in order to distract the mark from seeing that the matter has no substance. But I often wonder why people with substance are not just bothered to dress theirs up nicely enough to attract, lol maybe because they think the truth will set them free.
My definition of social engineering is; The appeal to the unconscious mind through verbal and most importantly, non-verbal cues. That’s just all it is, an appeal – “like me”, “interact with me”, “trust me”.
It’s what organisations have been indirectly saying to their customers. It’s what celebrities have always wanted from their fans. It’s what everyone would like to have from their larger communities.
It’s not manipulation, it’s a calculation of socially agreeable cultural interactions as an appeal to the unconscious mind. When we reverse-engineer our perceptions of social engineering, only then can we begin to enjoy its low hanging fruits.
Think about it. Back in the days, we feared hackers. It wasn’t until we realised that when we flip the intentions behind the actions, then we could mine that knowledge for our social advantage and protection.
Why Should We Social Engineer?
There is a lot of chatter going on in the news, on TV, on social media, even on the streets, everyone’s got something to say. Communication on an individual and organizational level has become a huge d**k swinging contest, a cycle that rinses and repeats.
It’s not a battle of who’s being heard by the relevant stakeholders but who’s making the loudest noise. Communication has become a game of impressions and Twitter trends. The audience is tone-deaf to brand communications.
There is a huge information overload and everyone is sick and tired of it. Influence is the singular most important thing to possess in these streets. It’s as simple as it’s complicated.
If you check within the Psychological context, another definition of Social Engineering emerges which says, “The use of centralized planning in an attempt to manage social change and regulate the future development and behaviour of a society”.
Social Engineering is in-depth research into culture and lifestyle. Social Engineering is the management of sensation and perception. Social Engineering is why the celebrity culture is rabid. Social Engineering is why religion is a thing. Social Engineering is why a lot of people are unemployed. Social Engineering is why a lot of businesses are shutting down.
Who Should Social Engineer?
Every entity that wants to win.