It was almost 5 years ago that we launched the social-engineer.org site. Honestly folks, if you had asked me to predict what would come of it my wildest dreams would not have lead me to this. Almost 5 years, 2 books, a number of worldwide trainings, a company and much more later it was time to take SEORG to the next step.
As I sat back and began to look over the site and listened to some of our clients tell me their boss was “nervous” when they came to the site thinking, “Is this guy good or bad?”, I realized it was time to redo the site from scratch.
The Development Process
Reviewing the purpose for the site meant sitting back and thinking what it was that motivated me to create this site in the first place. What was it that caused the dozens of volunteers to devote countless hours to launching the site? It was the fact that this site was to be the one-stop resource for all things “Social Engineer.” And it was. A framework, a podcast, a newsletter, a blog and now 4 years worth of reports showcasing the amazing SECTF at DEF CON.
The site was hard to navigate and did not make research easy. As the site grew with hundreds of pages, dozens of newsletters, hundreds of blogs and over 50 podcasts it was impossible to find things in a timely fashion.
That was our number one goal in the rebirth of SEORG, to make the site a true research tool for the community. This meant making it easy for visitors to find any item on the site. When we sat with our development team we decided upon a tagging system. Once we separated each blog, newsletter, and podcast into a proper format our team then took the time to painstakingly tag each item. Relevant keywords, themes, topics, people involved – all these became tag items.
Entering a search term gives you options
You are presented with all items tagged with your search
Next, we wanted to change the navigation to be much easier. Not only did that mean restructuring the menus but deciding on deleting pages that were not needed and making the most widely-used features of the site more easily located.
Menus are easier and more logical in their order
The podcast is a very prominent feature of the site and it was important for us to be able to give our fans every chance to listen to the podcast. Each podcast has a direct download, a link to iTunes, and other major podcast feeders as well as a separate player just for that episode.
Each podcast has its own listener now
Starting with the last 3 newsletters we are now placing the main newsletter article in a newsletter post. If you are one of the 10,000+ subscribers to the newsletter you will get the content early and get special offers etc in your inbox. But anyone will be able to come to the site and see past newsletters uploaded to the site in our newsletter section.
Besides the searching, one of the features of the site that made us who we are is the framework. The original framework took months and months to write. It was hard to navigate and even more difficult to serve up to you and keep updated. We have edited the framework to a massive degree. My team and I will be working to get more updated samples, examples and information in there. Keep coming back for updates and we will post when major updates occur.
(If you see a topic missing or lacking let us know please)
The new Framework makes it easier to find your topic
Finally, we overhauled the look and feel of the site. As you can tell, we did away with the dark, hackerish theme and introduced a new lighter theme that encourages the education we promote.
Why the Changes Now?
I wish I could share the literally hundreds of emails over the last year from students, professors, law enforcement, government, researchers, psychologists, and security enthusiasts who loved the site. Dozens of young men and women use the site to write college papers, dissertations, and produce works to further their education. Dozens of companies use our newsletter or podcast or blogs in their security awareness programs. All of this lead us to sit and think about giving these loyal fans and avid readers something they can be more proud of showing their bosses, families and educators.
Literally folks, from the bottom of my heart I cannot thank this amazing community enough for your support over these five years. I cannot thank you for loving and using the site and all your honest, positive and sometimes brutal feedback and for your motivation to keep doing this.
The work on this rebirth of SEORG would not have been even remotely possible without my amazing team: Michele Fincher continues to keep me grounded, making sure my research is sound, adding intelligence and professionalism to everything we do. Amanda White is really the great organizer. She not only helped manage this project but took days of her life updating links, clicking things and copying over EVERY page from the old framework to the new (since there was no export feature). Tamara Kaufman not only helped in the most tedious of tasks, but caught so many errors and so many bugs that literally if it were not for her hours of work the site wouldn’t be getting launched today. Dan Falk – the best darn server guy I ever met. Dan is tireless, amazing and ingenious.
Check out the ABOUT US page to see the whole team, the podcast crew and those that support us at DEF CON and the site.
Thank you again and I hope this is just the start of another five years.
Enjoy the site!