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Book Review-Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking

When a friend of mine told me about this book I was sort of concerned. I thought that somehow learning more about Social Engineering was sort of like reading a book on how to make a bomb. Sure I know some people need to know how to make a bomb, but does everyone need access to this kind of information? However, as I was reading it I realized that the information in the book wasn’t “new” per-se. It was the same sorts of things that consultants do every day – perhaps without the lock picking part.

If you’ve read my reviews you know that I love psychology. I love the observation of human behaviors and the thinking about what makes people tick. So much of what I ran into including neuro linguistic programming (NLP) was already information I had been exposed to. However, there were other places where I was reexposed to things that I had not remembered. Dr. Ekman’s work on FACS (Facial Action Coding System) was something I was exposed to before but hadn’t really spent much time thinking about.

While I don’t think that reading this book will make you a good social engineer, I do think that if you’re interested in psychology, particularly how people are manipulated you’ll find this book very informative. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that everyone who’s a full time consultant should read it – not because I think that consultants should use these techniques to get their next consulting engagement – but rather because the sheer number of people a typical consultant interacts with will ultimately cause them to run across someone who is trying to use the techniques on them.

Perhaps the best part – from my point of view – was that the book was easy to read and interesting. Having made a relatively sharp right turn into some heavy academic books this was the book that I kept coming back to for “filler time.” It was the one I wanted to read when I had a few minutes. So whether you’re looking for a job as a tester who will test an organization’s vulnerability to social engineering tactics, or you just want to learn more about the tactics that Social Engineers use, this book is a good read.

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