Chapter 3A History of Technology and Social Engineering

While the use of social engineering to manipulate others is nothing new, the technological era has drastically changed the methods and efficiency of its use. Since the early days of the Internet, technology has been (mis)used for the purpose of manipulating unsuspecting victims online. Throughout the years, social engineering has been leveraged to achieve a broad range of different objectives on the Internet, including advertising, propaganda, and cybercrime.


Much of what happens in our world is influenced by self-interested attempts to optimize personal wealth. This is the very nature of competitive economics. So, it should come as no surprise that one of the most common uses of technology for social engineering is to influence people to spend money on goods and services. Such efforts span a broad spectrum, ranging from legitimate and sanctioned business marketing campaigns to illegal and ethically questionable manipulation tactics.

Digital Marketing

The advent and subsequent surge in the popularity of the Internet made for the perfect ecosystem for advertising and marketing. Prior to the Internet, marketing was conducted by way of impersonal, best-effort campaigns over traditional media such as print, radio, and television. Most of these traditional forms of media were highly localized. Advertisements in newspapers, radio, and even TV were all broadcast for regional communities in close proximity to their ...

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