What Does Social Engineering Actually Mean?

To be a productive human in this world it helps if you have the ability to be able to read other people. Some people are very good at this and some people are very bad at it. For the people who are very good at it they tend to be able to go further in life. They are able to communicate with people better and they are able to get what they want a lot easier. For the people who are not able to read the body language of another person, you will see that they are not able to accomplish their goals easier and they have problems being able to communicate with other people. They either say the wrong things at the wrong time or they make moves that seem awkward to other people.


In the world of social engineering being able to read body language is very important. You have to be able to read the cues that the person is giving you so that you know which move to make next. For someone who is running a scam, reading the person’s body language wrong means that you are either part of a failed scam or you are about to be arrested. But social engineering is not all about being able to read body language alone. Sometimes you are just on the phone with a person or you are communicating with them by email. In cases like this you have to be able to read or hear between lines of what the person is saying. You have to be able to take the persons double talk and see what they really mean. When you are able to do that then that means you are good at social engineering.

What exactly is social engineering?

When we say social engineering, what we really mean is being able to get a person to do what you want them to do without the use of force. You see social engineering every day if you really just pay attention to it. Some people use forceful body language and a loud voice to get what they want. They want to come off as intimidating and someone who is aggressive even if they are not really that way. Some people use flirting as their social engineering tool. If you are considered attractive then getting someone who desires you to do what you want is a strong tool to have in your arsenal. A lot of people get on women for doing this especially but there are just as many men who use this as a tool as well (don’t be jealous – its a curse really :D). Men are not the only ones who can fall for a cute face that will get them to do what they want.

So as you can see social engineering is part of everyday life. And it is a big part of hacker culture as well. When people think of hackers they think of everything tech, but the truth is that most of the attacks are less technical in nature and more a matter of social engineering. You are getting the person to relax and think that whatever you want them to download is safe. That takes being able to create a safe environment for the person. You have to be able to take them out of defensive mode and relax them. These days everyone on the internet is one defensive mode so that can be a struggle.

Social engineering is alive both in the tech world and in the real world. You just have to be on your guard against them and a lot of times that just means listening to your gut feeling.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Josh Cannon says:

    Thanks for this article I was wondering what social engineering was all about as it is a phrase Ive heard often but never fully understood.

  2. Bernice says:

    Social Engineering is still the most powerful medium when it comes to bypassing security protocols For the most part humans are very trusting and this trust is what we define as the weak link.

  3. Great write-up. Social Engineering is huge and many people seem to gloss over it.

  4. Habte Eyob says:

    Thanks for bringing this very important subject to light.

  5. Absolutely, social engineering is the most powerful medium. The well-known Hacker group UGNazi claimed that they gained access to the Google’s MarkMonitor account.

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