Social Engineering aka Hacking the Human

by Steve Taylor


February 6, 2006 was a day that forever changed my life. That was the day that my daughter was born. I remember holding her and looking into her eyes for the first time and I have to say it was love at first sight. As the years quickly passed, I became many things to this precious little one; a clown, a protector, a genius, and (my favorite) a superhero. Little did I know, I had been hacked. I didn’t realize this until recently as I was packing to move into our new house, and I stumbled upon a tiara. The memories flooded back. I proudly sported that tiara at a teddy bear tea party while getting my nails painted. I remember her laughter and utter delight as we sipped tea and discussed the events unfolding in the kingdom of her imagination. On the surface this may not seem like hacking, and that is exactly what makes it a good example. Social engineering at its most basic level is manipulating a human to willingly do something he/she normally wouldn’t do and suffice it to say; I don’t wear tiaras, paint my fingernails, or have tea with teddy bears.


A report compiled by Verizon found that it takes 82 seconds for cyber-thieves to ensnare the first victim of a phishing campaign. Although results come quickly, hackers will take their time when targeting businesses. They investigate key people, search social media sites, browse job postings, and then they unleash the chaos. Hackers may call employees impersonating a vendor, IT, or maintenance. They may send emails that have been spoofed to appear to be from a high-ranking individual of the organization. They may appear in person and impersonate a trusted third party, manager, or repair man. They may even go through your trash looking for information. Tragically, it only takes 82 seconds to destroy reputations that were built on decades of trust.


Fortunately, there are ways to help protect your business from human hackers and this is where Vala Secure shines. At Vala we can simulate a social engineering attack and provide you with detailed reports and training that will help you educate your employees and strengthen your security. Just as 82 seconds can destroy your organization, one brief phone call or email can also help to strengthen your security and protect your business. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (972) 429-8200 or by emailing We would love to hear from you.




“2020 Data Breach Investigations Report”