What Is Social Engineering?

Social Engineering (SE) is a blend of science, psychology, and art. While it is amazing and complex, it is also very simple.

We define it as  “Any act that influences a person to take an action that may or may not be in their best interest.” We have defined it in very broad and general terms because we feel that social engineering is not always negative, but encompasses how we communicate with our parents, therapists, children, spouses, and others.

Since SE is not always negative it merits a closer look at how it is used both for the good and the bad. Our research shows that the exact same principles that are used to get a raise or communicate with your spouse or children are often used by malicious scammers and social engineers to part you and your company from data, information, money, and more.

Just a few years ago, we decided to start writing a course on social engineering and how it is used by penetration testers and security enthusiasts. That process gave birth to the “Social-Engineer Framework”.  That framework became the centerpiece for this website and branched off into the podcast, newsletter, blog, five books, and now a company that helps corporations learn how to combat and mitigate the effects of malicious social engineering.

To accomplish this task, we have built a team of professional social engineers, psychologists, researchers, scientists, and security enthusiasts. We have then worked with, interviewed, and learned from some of the greatest and brightest scientific minds in the world to bring you a resource that will dive deep into the art, science, and psychology of the Human Operating System.