How to hack a human, Dr Jessica Barker

Dr Jessica Barker | Infosecurity Europe 2016

Yesterday Dr Jessica Barker, who has a strong background in the field of sociology, performed a talk at Infosecuirty Europe 2016. The talk, called How to hack a human – anatomy of a social engineering attack, was designed to focus on the key areas of both how people respond to social engineering attacks and how such tools can be used positively to talk and train people in the industry. Jessica focused on five main areas, these being:

  • Obligation
  • Naivety
  • Curiosity
  • Overconfidence
  • Narcissism

We like to think the human brain is rational. While in fact the brain is made of rational and irrational parts. [We move to] a form of mindlessness. The thing about mindlessness is that you don’t know when your being mindless.

Dr Jessica Barker rounded off her talk by referencing three main take away points:

  • Similarity – If the event hasn’t happened to you before you are more likely to think it wont happened in the future.
  • Simulation – Felling harm wont come to you due to not being able to imagine people wanting your data.
  • Fluency – The more serious a situation sounds, the more people detach from the situation.

As a conclusion Dr Jessica referenced a book, called ‘Nudge’ and  spoke about the Golem and Pygmalion effect . This seconded her point on fluency as it depicted that for individuals to respond well to training or technical speech they must be spoken to in a positive manner.

James Stevenson

Im a Cyber Security enthusiast that loves all things to do with technology. I'm specifically interested in cyber security and ethical hacking.

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