Information is the crux of any social engineering engagement. It merits then that we talk about Info Gathering often.  It just so happens that at times there are stories in the news that highlight what happens when people are overconfident and post dumb things online.

Overconfidence has led to military and political defeats, huge professional sports upsets and the fall of this disability fraudster who posted an incriminating video of himself online.

The man in the video had reportedly been collecting disability benefits for almost 20 years before he was exposed. Considering the almost taunting video post, it’s probably safe to say that he had grown overconfident in his abilities to maintain his scam; as well as his ability to dance cool. Or maybe Steppenwolf just does that to him.

Social engineers should use this example to further understand how much people put out there on the Internet. Whether overconfidence, ignorance or pride is a person’s flaw, there is always a reason to look in the most obvious places when gathering information. You might think a career fraudster wouldn’t be into posting his Johnny Castle exploits on YouTube. Man, Johnny makes it look good.

The Humorous Side to Info Gathering

Seriously, though, similar cases are often reported that highlight the potential for this kind of behavior from many people.

Personal overconfidence should also be carefully considered by the social engineer for his or her own performance. In whatever context, an honest appraisal of your own limits, strengths, weaknesses and abilities provides the knowledge you need to act and think adaptively. Critical thinking isn’t just something we preach, it’s something we need to understand and practice in order to avoid the inevitable downfall associated with overconfidence and lack of self knowledge.

Until next time, folks (Pro Tip: don’t be that guy!)