Elections — Social Media Engineering And The Art Of Hacking Humans

Social engineering is the hacking of human beings. It’s not new but what is new is the almost overnight and spectacular take up rate of social media across the world and it brings with it new challenges that in some context should be termed social media engineering.

Strangely, this is a technology where human verses human pitch skills against each other in ever greater numbers.

We are all aware of some of the dangers of putting ourselves ‘out-there’. We know that criminals can harvest data and steal our identities but we are not so aware of the intelligence operatives building an entire picture of who we are, how law enforcement is changing or how politicians steal elections.

Our permanently connected lives leave us vulnerable especially because we cannot see who these infiltrators are. As in all scenarios, some people are harder to trick than others but all humans are vulnerable to social media engineering.

One part of social engineering is operating scams like Phishing, Baiting, Tailgating and Pretexting. Hackers prey off of human psychology and curiosity in order to compromise their targets’ information.

Social media engineering is a bit different. For instance, after the Paris attacks on November 13th, Facebook switched on two lesser-known features: Safety Check and Temporary Profiles. The former was a way for people in Paris to let family and friends know they were safe; the latter splashed an overlay of the French flag on top of profile pictures.

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