Companies exposed to ‘social engineers’

Thursday, 5 September 2002, 9:56 AM EST

Companies are leaving themselves exposed to hackers because of a lack of awareness of the 'social engineering' techniques deployed by the most dangerous attackers, according to Kevin Mitnick.

"A lot of people think they are not gullible, that they can't be manipulated, but nothing could be further from the truth," says Mitnick. He claims that using such techniques - combined with substantial technical know-how - he was able to break into all but one of the systems he targeted in a 15-year hacking career.

Social engineers attempt to break in to systems by persuading unwitting staff to part with vital information, including login names and passwords. "The threat of social engineering is substantial. People ought to know that you can buy the best technology in the world and it won't protect the organisation against social engineering," he says.

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