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Social Engineering in Today’s Society

by Elena Shella tejada Villamor in Sociology, July 14, 2008

Social engineering and society’s laws are two, opposite forces and its use on manipulation is a mark of a degrading race where individuals are outside the fence of civilized, ethical, and law-abiding society. In layman’s terms, social engineering means trickery or the absence of security; although this may seem dire, information and preparedness could still save people from its threats.

The twenty-first century has an existing form of art and science that can drive people and even business entities to destruction. In fact, people who desire power and control over other individuals are often always equipped with social engineering skills. Social engineering in its most basic form is the subtle act of getting information from people with the use of today’s technological gadgets such as phones and computers. A well-planned scheme of social engineering could tear down businesses and even destroy lives. Indeed, some people have willfully strayed from society’s norms and ethical practices for their own gain.

Information thieves continue to thrive because of the lack of worker training on securing information-most companies focus on hiring computer security experts that they tend to neglect the very core of their business-their employees. Information security is more than just building up firewalls and computer patches. Information can be further fortified with the use of physical security; network policies and training for employees. The most common forms of social engineering practices in our world today include: phone scams; posing as outside contractors; dumpster diving; computer hacking; etc. Phone scams are the most basic and the oldest type of social engineering. Most information thieves call secretaries or receptionists under the pretense that they are computer technicians. The victim would then willingly give out information such as the types of computers that the company has or even the type of operating systems in use. Hiring outside contractors could mean trouble if the security personnel are not thoroughly briefed on what the contractor is authorized to perform. Posers could arrive under the pretense that they are the contractors and they could easily get all the information that they want. Good communication could deter this practice.

Looking for information in dumpsters could be crude yet it can still be an effective information thievery tool. Information robbers are willing to get down on their knees and do this dirty task. The price is the un-shred paper containing vital information from companies.

Computer hacking is the newest social engineering form and is also the most high-tech. Hackers can now penetrate systems in a matter of minutes. Social networking also sets the stage for identity theft if information security has not been implemented.

This education does not have to be focused on mere technical and academic knowledge; there has to be a holistic approach to make a revolutionary change in the future. The twenty-first century might have come up with the most scheming geniuses the world has ever known but this group of cheats could be outdone with the implementation of law. Law can be a pretty useful social engineering tool and when morals and values are at their lowest, the law can instill peace among families and the general society.

If only ordinary citizens are allowed to have a say on enacting laws, it would be good to begin by passing stricter laws on the use of the Internet. The most prevalent identity thieves and hackers now thrive online because they have a free reign on this domain.

Some of the laws that tried to daunt social engineering include:

  1. The CDA or The Communications Decency Act of 1996 declaring the illegality of sexually explicit stuff
  2. The COPA or The Child Online Protection Act of 1998 which became the more definite version of the CDA but, just like its predecessor, it was also deemed unconstitutional
  3. The CIPA or Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000 dictates that libraries and schools that receive federal technology funds should install software that blocks pornography on their computers

Unfortunately, even the government could have its own forms of social engineering which has a deeper clout among innocent citizens. The use of subtle means to change the current system and come up with a system that is meant to control is not a new practice. Authoritarian systems of government could engineer citizens with the use of propaganda-this can also be referred to as political engineering. For instance, the behavior of citizens is strongly influenced by such factors as taxation, anti-littering laws, economic policies, and even the media. Political correctness is often a motive among moralists in government positions. These laws could come in good as they tend to dictate the proper human behaviors yet they could be so far-reaching as to affect some citizens’ free will. Social engineering has, indeed, evolved and its effect can now be felt by everyone. Only education and law would promote preparedness and security among citizens. So it should be every citizen’s goal to be aware of both tools.

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User Comments

  1. justine!

    On July 14, 2008 at 7:26 am

    nice one sis.shella:)

  2. noel niño matias

    On July 15, 2008 at 4:04 am

    i like it

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