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Unmasking The Social Engineer: The Human Elemen...

Far too many firms forget about the human element when it comes to information security. Ensuring that social engineering is part of the overall information security program is no longer an option. And in Unmasking the Social Engineer: The Human Element of Security, Hadnagy makes that eminently clear.

Unmasking the Social Engineer: The Human Elemen...


Social Engineering: The Science of Human Hacking reveals the craftier side of the hacker's repertoire - why hack into something when you could just ask for access? Undetectable by firewalls and antivirus software, social engineering relies on human fault to gain access to sensitive spaces; in this book, renowned expert Christopher Hadnagy explains the most commonly used techniques that fool even the most robust security personnel and reveals how these techniques have been used in the past.

Social engineers are experts at getting people to do what they want. The step-by-step instructions in this book will put you in a place to get what you want by understanding what people aren't telling you. Christopher Hadnagy, Dr. Paul Ekman, and Paul Kelly have joined forces to explain how social engineering works and how you can prevent it. Security is more than just defending against people with malicious intent. It's about using your knowledge of social engineering and "human hacking" to stay in control of every situation.

Now, it's true that Galton expresses (a lot more) pessimism about breeding for increasing existing characteristics in a population due to thinking through the implications of regressions to the mean (see, second edition p. xviii). But (c) he is explicit that it leaves open possibility for breeding for novelty or new characteristics (or what he calls "spots") which can then be passed on to the next generation. This can ultimately lead to a new "species" (race/kind). Galton goes on to call for the establishment of an experimental research lab in which breeding experiments on animals are performed alongside demographic study of human populations. So, a eugenic program that breeds new, desirable characteristics into a new kind of man may well be possible (and that's what, in fact, he calls for research into). Galton's remarks reveal the (evidential) research potential of drastic social engineering:

In his essay, Bright explicitly recognizes that the taboo (racial explanation) is maintained not because using it is meaningless. That is to say, the logical empiricists have not shown that using racial explanation is false. One need not be Freud to recognize one does not need taboos on the evidently false. But it also does not follow that the logical empiricists thought the taboo was hiding the truth. (If anything, using a taboo to hide the truth is self-defeating because one will generate contradictions, internal tensions, etc.) Rather, it's clear that they thought that regardless of the scientific status of racial explanation, there is always a non-trivial risk these get mingled with immoral/inhumane political aims. That is, the members of the Vienna Circle are (recall) engaged in responsible speech because they recognize what we call the inductive risks of legitimizing racial explanations. The polemic with Heidegger centers, in part, on their recognition that his way of philosophizing has noxious consequences (recall Glymour). Taboos can be efficient in preventing the predictable downstream costs and energy of combating the pernicious effects of the damage done by racial explanation (in the service of racial hierarchy, social exclusion, eugenic programs, etc.).

Over a long and prodigiously fertile academic career, PeterBerger's vision of sociology has consistently emphasized its debunkingand unmasking properties. Such properties, Berger contends, are evidence ofsociology's humanistic promise. Following a brief description of hisearly transition from The Precarious Vision (a sociological book addressedprincipally to Christians) to Invitation to Sociology (a text keyed to amostly secular audience), Berger's idea of humanism is described. So,too, are the roles that debunking and unmasking play in its articulation.Debunking and unmasking, conflated by Berger, are then analyticallydistinguished, historically located, and criticized. Debunking, an Americanspecialty, ridicules its targets but explains nothing. Unmasking, of Europeanprovenance, has pronounced anti-humanist--violent, denunciatory,coercive--tendencies, evidenced in both the French and Bolshevik Revolutions.Accordingly, any defense of unmasking that claims to uphold humanism requiresmajor qualification. The article, as well as assessing Berger'shumanism, employs it as an opportunity to think more broadly, and morecritically, about the types of debunking/unmasking in modern life.

The book was also personally daring. From a position of radicalProtestantism, indebted to the existential theology of Karl Barth andparticularly Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Berger challenged fellow believers toreturn to the basics of their faith and to recognize the inhuman side ofChristianity as an ossified and corrupted religion. Religions such asChristianity, Berger charged, repeatedly validated society's"carnival of masks," giving the "illusion of absoluteness toone particular coloration of the social stage" (PV: 21). CondensingSartre, Marx, and Heidegger, he accused Christianity of bad faith, oflegitimating power, and of obscuring the active choice believers must make ifthey are to live authentic and individual lives. Atheists were right tocharge religions, Christianity included, with deception andself-righteousness. They were right to see religion as a distorted projectionof human qualities. They were right to dispute the conflation of religion andethics.

More generally, Berger claims for sociology a humanisticorientation. I will examine that now together with his partner contentionthat the sociological consciousness is integrally debunking and unmasking.Berger affirms not simply the compatibility of these motifs but theirconceptual interlocking. In contrast, I will show the tensions among them. Onmy account, the debunking/unmasking style that Berger applauds requires arobust set of qualifications because that style is just as likely to producepolarization and cruelty than it is to encourage the honest and tolerantsociety he upholds. Far from cultivating humanism, debunking and unmaskinghave, since the eighteenth century, been a persistent and salient means ofdestroying it.

A humanistic approach is one that further emphasizes "thecontribution of sociology to a humane society, based on its debunking of themyths legitimating cruelty and oppression." Sociology is "akin tocomedy because it debunks the social fictions" (AAS 25, 73). It is thusa legatee of satirical as well as Enlightenment visions of the social world,reinforced by modern existentialism. Two other sources of Berger'sdebunking predilections are, so to speak,

The other source of Berger's attachment to debunking isforcefully articulated in The Precarious Vision. In Vision, the dressrehearsal for Invitation to Sociology, Berger reminds his readers that whileJudaic-Christian scripture recounts how God created the heavens and theearth, and then created Man, it never says that God created Society. Man didthat all by himself. For this very reason, the Judaic-Christian tradition hasthe potential to be the most radical of social debunkers. After all,"Man enters into the world naked, without a name, without social roles,without involvement in the great institutions" (PV: 196). "Naked Icame from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return" (Job 1:21).It is human beings who create their "masks and cloaks" (PV: 19),whereas for God "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slavenor free" (Gal. 3:28). Our modern term person derives from a Latin termfor "mask." But God, Berger declares, is "no respecter ofpersons" in that dramatic sense, no reader of law books, politicalconstitutions or corporation mission statements. God sees us for who we areas opposed to what we pretend to be. Because "Christian humanism"sees through "the deceptions of social structure, through the web of badfaith and rationalization," it assumes by implication a "debunking,unmasking character" (PV: 196, 228-9).

It is natural that a memoir covering the whole span of a careerwill truncate each of the themes it touches on. Adventures of an AccidentalSociologist emphasizes only two ingredients of humanism. I have justdescribed them. Sociology is humanistic by being a discipline on theinterface of the humanities. Sociology is humanistic by being humane, and,correlatively, by unmasking social fictions. In Invitation to Sociology,however, one sees a much richer, more variegated rendering of humanism. Atleast six elements, many overlapping, are explicitly mentioned. Sociology ishumanistic insofar as it promotes irony and skepticism, not least in regardto its own procedures and findings. In this way, sociology joins the broader"human comedy" it studies (IS: 165). Sociology is humanistic whenit concerns itself with "the human condition. " Precisely becausethe social world is of such salient importance to human existence,"sociology comes time and again on the fundamental question of what itmeans to be a man and what it means to be a man in a particularsituation" (IS: 166). Sociology is humanistic wherever it discovers,through its own practice, "human values" such as "humilitybefore the immense richness of the world one is investigating, an effacementof the self in the search for understanding, honesty and precision inmethod" and a willingness to be proved wrong (IS: 166). 041b061a72


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