Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date

Spring 4-13-2015

School

School of Engineering and Computational Sciences

Major

Computer Science

Keywords

Social Engineering, Computer, Security, Hacking, Information, Psychology

Disciplines

Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Information Security

Abstract

Social engineering is one of the most devastating threats to any company or business. Rather than relying upon technical flaws in order to break into computer networks, social engineers utilize a suave personality in order to deceive individuals through clever conversation. These devious conversations frequently provide the attacker with sufficient information to compromise the company’s computer network. Unlike common technical attacks, social engineering attacks cannot be prevented by security tools and software. Instead of attacking a network directly, a social engineer exploits human psychology in order to coerce the victim to inadvertently divulge sensitive information. Further complicating the issue, the rise in popularity of social media has vastly increased the arsenal of information available to the social engineer to utilize when targeting individuals. Ultimately, this paper will describe the danger posed by social engineering attacks before detailing a comprehensive strategy to defend against the threat, accounting specifically for the dangers posed by social media and psychology.

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