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Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,506 ratings  ·  183 reviews
The first book to reveal and dissect the technical aspect ofmany social engineering maneuvers From elicitation, pretexting, influence and manipulation allaspects of social engineering are picked apart, discussed andexplained by using real world examples, personal experience and thescience behind them to unraveled the mystery in socialengineering.

Kevin Mitnick--one of the
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Paperback, 382 pages
Published December 21st 2010 by Wiley (first published November 29th 2010)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Todd
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: partially-read
Let me start by saying that Social Engineering is one of the two areas of information security where I have specialized (in addition to application security), so I was looking forward to this book, and, undoubtedly, I set my expectations too highly.

Here is a big part of where my excitement originated: this book is one of the first books to pull together commentary on the types of things social engineers have known and been doing. This book, as well as social-engineer.org and _No Tech Hacking_
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Simone
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I first became aware of the concept of Social Engineering when I read Ghost in the Wires My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick and I was blown away! It was very exciting that guy has GUTS!

I wanted to read more about the technique, not necessarily with the goal of learning how to social-engineer people in mind, but rather to try and recognize the signs so I can detect if ever I am being social-engineered!

This book is quite thorough and there is no denying the material is interesting, but I found it too long. There was too much telling me about
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Sebastian Gebski
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it
3-3.5 stars.
Book contains plenty of useful information, but I didn't like it at all ;/

Why?
1. Narrator in Audible version was far too monotonous & made even the most interesting cases sound dull.
2. Book is too repetitive, while in the same time it lacked clear structure -> this deepens the feeling of repetition
3. Author does a lot of 'cheap' NLP on the reader -> to easy to look through & too annoying ("next, you'll read about the best & most fascinating techniques of influence
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Trav
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: saass, 667
An easy read.

The audience is not clear, but I do not believe it needs to be. The fact that the author repeatedly talks throughout about techniques you can use to social engineer, but then closes the book out with a chapter on "Prevention and Mitigation" highlighted, to me, that the book was designed more as a wake-up call to those, like the CEO he mentions in one of his case study, that believe themselves immune from the potentially negative effects of social engineering.

I find it interesting
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Aija
Mar 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: educ
A typical american-style book - too much repetition and redundancy of words.
Other than that, it is a nice systematic review of social engineering methods.
And while reading this book I realized why we shouldn't share every bit of information about ourselves in social networks (it's not like I didn't know it, but now I understand it). However, not sharing information on social networks also is information that can be used, so I conclude with same as the author: security through education. Need to
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Ryan Lackey
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is far from perfect, but it is the best book Ive found on how-to social engineering as an overall field vs either a bunch of case studies or narrow guides to specific techniques. The biggest problem was using the same set of examples to illustrate multiple ostensibly distinct techniques admittedly a lot of the distinctions were arbitrary to begin with and the structure of the book wasnt as clear as it could be. However, this book (and the authors other resources on the Internet) are ...more
Vlad
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Decent book if this is one's first interaction with the topic. If not, the repetitive, meandering and occasionally off-topic commentary coupled with a hefty amount of outdated information, plus the long internet links thrown in together with the text, instead of in an appendix, will make it a difficult read at times.
With these shortcomings aside, I did appreciate the topics on information gathering, microexpressions, the description of Kali Linux's (still called Backtrack when the book was
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Abbas
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Arm yourself with knowledge.

This book looked to me like it has broke human relations down into fine pieces and made it easy to understand. The book bases its arguments on reasearch the author's team and other psychologists have conducted as well as public experiments and events. The one thing this book was, to me, lacking was examples from history.
vadász szőlő
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found that this book is vary interesting. After reading this book I watched the Television show that the author made about the same thing. Wile reading this book I learned about social engineering and how to use and manipulate people using the tactics used in the book. The book also is a good thing to learn about to protect your self from the people trying to hurt or scam me using the tactics in the book.
This book shows how to make people do what you want to do, wile also making them think
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Wael Ghnimi
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading the book. Those who listen to the social engineering podcast, in which the author takes part, will find in the book most of the topics dealt in the first 20 something podcast episodes. This book is the written witness of the spirit present in the social-engineer podcast.

SE book highlights :
In this post, I fly over, following a very personal route, the main ideas that the 9 chapters of this book contain. The book is easy to read. Every chapter conveys some summary points plus a
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Ben Rothke
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a story about Harry Houdini, that he once failed to escape from a jail cell, even though the door was unlocked. The reason he stayed trapped is that he only knew how to get out of locked doors. In the world of technology, there are indeed many locked doors, and social engineers know how to open them.

In the domain of social engineering, Christopher Hadnagy is one of the best. Ive reviewed other books of his here, namely Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking, Unmasking the Social
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Sal Coraccio
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pentesting
A well done overview with added depth in key areas - overall, an excellent resource for any IT professional and will provide utility for a penetration tester looking to strengthen the person-to-person attack vector.

This book is probably best served as paper, versus audio - or at least supplemented with the actual book. This is partly due to the many lists and references and partly due to the off-putting narration. It wasn't bad, but "good" isn't quite the right word either.

This book and further
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Amir Tesla
This books contains the basic principles of S.E. The very downside of it though, is that the information provided in each domain is too trivial. Once you hit a new chapter and have a glance at the title you would say wow it must be very interesting but as you proceed along the content you get disappointed since many things stays opaque.
There are introduced interesting topics that can be used in an SE process like elicitation, framing, persuasion techniques, NLP etc. but you cannot grasp the
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Jonathan Jeckell
While the US government is fixated with all things cyber, this book shows how physical and technical security systems can easily be bypassed. It mainly trends to following professional penetration testers, but also provided insight into improving your ability to influence others, as well as protect yourself from predatory manipulation, like hoaxes, scams, spear phishing, etc. The part about how woefully inadequate most corporate information awareness courses are made me laugh out loud since it ...more
Weston
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
This was an excellent book. Normally, I don't read books like this one cover to cover. I browse through them, looking at interesting parts, and then they sit on my shelf until I want to reference something in them. That almost happened with this book. I read about half way through it back in March, and then started reading some other things. About a week ago, I picked it back up and had a hard time putting it down. The explanations in the book are great, and the material is fascinating. It is ...more
Tony
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
3/4 I already knew and didnt really enjoy it. Many of the stuff were unnecessary, like comments which were not so relevant to the point that author was making or that social engineer needs to be motivated, not afraid to fail and so on... well duh, thats obvious and is applied to ANY REAL WORLD PROFESSION.

There were parts which were indeed useful, like trick questions and real examples how to get what you want. Also the tools that engineer can use were very helpful. However, that only covered
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R.Z.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Christopher Hadnagy's worldview is suspect. Under the guise of showing his readers how to prevent falling prey to shysters trying to defraud them, he is really teaching his readers how to manipulate and fool people into doing what is wanted. Again and again he exhorts his readers to not break the law, yet much of what he recommends would be considered unethical and immoral by anyone who believes in respect for others. Bad stuff.
Takedown
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book just amazing!!!
So much valuable information, very fun and easy to read! Priceless!
Must read if you do security audit or just interested in social engineering!
This is also one of the best psychological book so worth a look even if you not interested in IT
Joycec
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book gives a good overview of how we get hacked and/or taken advantage of. It's great insight into how trusting we can be and how others can use this to exploit us. There are parts that are way too technical for most of us but overall the book was worth reading.
Douglas Matthews
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Chris Hadnagy provides an excellent primer into the world of social engineering. If you want to understand the threat, learn to think how the bad guys think. Plus, there are many aspects of social engineering that have perfectly legitimate uses and purposes in ordinary personal and business life.
Jose
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Not bad. It was not a academical as I was thinking at first, it was more on the entertaining side.
Dgg32
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Nice facts, useful tipps.
Georgi Bg
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psihologie
This book shows you how easy we can be "hacked" and gives us lots of examples, to be with our eyes wide open all the time.
Dan
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: infosec, psychology
I thought "Art of Deception" was the best book out there on the subject of social engineering, and then I read this.... Outstanding.
John
Feb 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting, but way too credulous on the NLP nonsense.
Liz Mclean-Knight
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty good into to SE, and some nice anecdotes are thrown in along the way. If you've already been studying the topic, a lot of it is redundant but I can see it being a nice thing to have one's employees read in order to take SE seriously as a security issue. He touches on microexpressions and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) in deceptive conversations, but these are very surface-level discussions. Here are a few resources I've found on various subjects that are more deep-dives:

Body
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Mike
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
I picked up the book with the intent of learning more about Social Engineering and how I could defend against bad actors. It sounded like the author knew his subject and was sharing.

But the author needs a better editor. The focus of the book wanders, so that on the same page the tone is for a person like me and then a couple paragraphs later, someone who wants to be a social engineering auditor. I'd be fine either way, but the constant flopping around made for difficult reading. (The biggest
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Dennis Murphy
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-science
Social Engineering by Christopher Hadnagy is an odd one to judge. Some of the information is basic, some of it is almost contemptuous with the regard it has for the reader's knowledge, and some of it reads fake - I don't really trust him on microexpressions, and it seems more like something he read, rather than something he experienced. Yet, other information seems really legitimate, and some of the chapters are highly useful. Chapters 5, 6 (sans micro), and 8 justify the purchase, even if ...more
Michael Thelin
May 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was a challenge.

Coining Engineering terms for every social 'exploit' makes it seem to try a little too hard to appeal to the tech crowd, e.g. like 'Human Buffer overflow'. Also found some of the short anecdotes in the book to not be believable, but rather added as help to make a point. (Helping the elderly woman on page 164, saving the receptionist from the angry CFO on page 191.)

The largest issue I had with this book is that it doesn't seem to have a target audience in mind. People
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Pete
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
My sense is that the best way to describe this book is that is covers the art of social engineering rather the the science of social engineering. If you are new to the topic I would say "Hey, might be useful as an overview", though frankly I'd recommend the "Psychology of Persuasion" by Caldini as a far more fun and approachable read. The latter is so good Charlie Munger read it, and gave Caldini class A shares in Berkshire Hathaway.

Would I read "Social Engineering" once? Yes. Twice? No. Why?
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