Hackers use social engineering for spearphishing

GQ writer Sarah Jeong gets hacked to discover the warning signs of a potential social engineering cyber-attack.

GQ writer Sarah Jeong gets hacked to discover the warning signs of a potential social engineering cyber-attack.

From the horrible Hollywood hacks of 2014 to John Podesta’s emails, hackers aren’t feverishly trying to sneak into your computer. They’re coming up with better ways to convince you to let them in. So Sarah Jeong invited a hacker in to see exactly how it’s done…

You can’t just wait around hoping to get spearphished—unless, I guess, you work for the Democratic National Party. So I asked Cooper Quintin—staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a friend—to hack me…

Compromising someone’s digital security is time-consuming, though not for the reasons pop culture might suggest. Hacking isn’t a matter of typing furiously into a cyberpunk-y computer terminal like in The Matrix (although Quintin did indeed spend much of our session typing into an old-fashioned command-line interface). What he needed was time to skulk through my social-media profiles to figure out who I was, who my friends were, where I worked, who I worked with, who I was close to, who I would trust—the kind of information, thanks to social media, that’s available to anyone who wants to look. This is the key difference between spearphishing and regular ol’ phishing. Spearphishing involves a component of social engineering: It’s the most boring kind of hacking, but also the most dangerous…

via GQ

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