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Unmasking the Social Engineer: The Human Element of Security by Paul Ekman, Paul Kelly F., Christopher Hadnagy

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Chapter 9

Nonverbal Communication and the Social Engineer Human Being

It is not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.

—Bruce Wayne/Batman

When I planned this book, I came up with what I thought was an appropriate table of contents. That is what I presented to my publisher as my concept for this book. The end results are drastically different than what I planned. This happened because as this book was being written, new research came out, changes occurred to the existing research, and my experiences and understanding changed as well.

I am telling you this because it is one of the first valuable lessons I feel this book can teach a social engineer: Things change quickly, and we must be able to adapt. Adaptation is what keeps us alive. If humans didn't adapt, we would die off.

When I analyze the malicious side of social engineering, I frequently see this ability to adapt. The “bad guys” can pick up new skills, utilize new technology, and change as the times change. Yet sometimes, when I work with companies as a social engineering consultant, I see a strong unwillingness to change or adapt. I hear comments like “We've been doing things this way for years. Why change now?”

Why? Because the world is changing. Yes, there have always been scam artists and con men and thieves, but lately we have seen a global influx of a cold-hearted type of criminal.

One example is the increase in attacks on the elderly, regardless of the amount of money they have. Criminals pretext as relatives ...

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