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3/17/2015
04:00 PM
Sara Peters
Sara Peters
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The 7 Best Social Engineering Attacks Ever

Seven reminders of why technology alone isn't enough to keep you secure.
5 of 9

Diamonds Are A Social Engineer's Best Friend

Here's one for all the financial services pen testers to remember.

In 2007, a mystery man who remains at large burgled safety deposit boxes at an ABN Amro bank in Belgium, stealing diamonds and other gems weighing 120,000 carats, in all. He visited the bank during regular business hours, overcame all of the bank's exceptional security mechanisms, and walked right out the door with  euro 21 million (roughly $27.9 million at the time) worth of gemstones with no one the wiser, using absolutely no technology whatsoever.

'He used one weapon -- and that is his charm -- to gain confidence,' Philip Claes, spokesman for the Diamond High Council, said at the time. 'He bought chocolates for the personnel, he was a nice guy, he charmed them, got the original of keys to make copies and got information on where the diamonds were.

'You can have all the safety and security you want,' said Claes 'but if someone uses their charm to mislead people it won't help.'

(Image: Marilyn Monroe as Lorelei Lee in 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes singing 'Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend.' Public Domain. Via Wikipedia.)

Diamonds Are A Social Engineer's Best Friend

Here's one for all the financial services pen testers to remember.

In 2007, a mystery man who remains at large burgled safety deposit boxes at an ABN Amro bank in Belgium, stealing diamonds and other gems weighing 120,000 carats, in all. He visited the bank during regular business hours, overcame all of the bank's exceptional security mechanisms, and walked right out the door with 21 million (roughly $27.9 million at the time) worth of gemstones with no one the wiser, using absolutely no technology whatsoever.

"He used one weapon -- and that is his charm -- to gain confidence," Philip Claes, spokesman for the Diamond High Council, said at the time. "He bought chocolates for the personnel, he was a nice guy, he charmed them, got the original of keys to make copies and got information on where the diamonds were.

"You can have all the safety and security you want," said Claes "but if someone uses their charm to mislead people it won't help."

(Image: Marilyn Monroe as Lorelei Lee in 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes singing "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend." Public Domain. Via Wikipedia.)

5 of 9
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CASVPN
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CASVPN,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/22/2019 | 7:36:16 AM
What is Social Engineering really?
I have been reading about the social engineering thing lately, I am getting lots of phishing emails lately and I wonder where I went wrong. May be someone has got a hold of my email. I have become more aware now and I literally check every link before even opening it.
Megan is Always Wright
50%
50%
Megan is Always Wright,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/9/2017 | 11:15:58 AM
Re: What is Social Engineering really?
Social engineering is basically a technique that has long been used by humans even before the birth of the Internet. By using these techniques, the evildoers among us are able to win our trust, or more like fool us into sharing stuff that we shouldn't.

I also didnt understand what it was until i read this article (https://www.purevpn.com/blog/social-engineering-attacks/) which explained what it was and how to protect against it
nickhudson
50%
50%
nickhudson,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/5/2017 | 8:03:33 AM
What is Social Engineering really?
I have been reading about the social engineering thing lately, I am getting lots of phishing emails lately and I wonder where I went wrong. May be someone has got a hold of my email. I have become more aware now and I literally check every link before even opening it.
baller188
100%
0%
baller188,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/14/2017 | 6:00:19 AM
Forex security and vulnerabilities
Great post as always. Technology advances every day, new vulnerabilities arise all the time. Security is everyones main priority and rightly so. For any site owner nowadays you need a dedicated security team to make sure you and your customers are safe. Its a scary world out there.
Sincee
50%
50%
Sincee,
User Rank: Strategist
10/2/2015 | 4:56:47 AM
thank's for post
system security in any country is the future !
MichaelH91401
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50%
MichaelH91401,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2015 | 3:18:11 PM
Re: name required
The post refers to "Ferrara" repeatedly, but never describes who he is or what he does. 
AnonymousC493
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50%
AnonymousC493,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/9/2015 | 9:41:21 AM
Social Engineering examples
Here's another example:

https://engineering.social/2015/05/02/sinkholing-script-kiddies/

It's not one of 'the best social engineering attacks' ever, but shows that anyone can be a target.

 

 
mithoon
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100%
mithoon,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/28/2015 | 2:37:41 AM
Re: name required
great post
delllphi
50%
50%
delllphi,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/24/2015 | 7:21:23 AM
Confidence Man
The name of the "confidence man" was "William Thompson" and not "Samuel Williams". The article "Arrest of the Confidence Man" (New-York Herald, July 8, 1849) can be found online.
xmarksthespot
50%
50%
xmarksthespot,
User Rank: Strategist
3/19/2015 | 4:24:22 AM
Good examples
Great article!  Periodic User awareness training to reduce social engineering is of paramount importance.  Some phishing emails are so good that high trained security people can fall for them.  The examples in the article effectively demonstrate the issue.


The rule I use for my own emails is not click links in emails, including unsubscribe, unless the email is expected, such as one as confirmation during new account setup. Of course, never click on attachments either unless they are expected.  I have within Spyshelter (anti-keylogger) where I can save an attachment, right click the file and on the pop-up menu click 'Spyshelter-> Check it on VirusTotal'; it uploads to virustotal.com .   It's then scanned by over 50 antivirus software products. 

I think this rule is probably the most important security measure I use for computers at my home.
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