Shades of Gray Security’s Principal Cyber Security Consultant has released a book containing stories of his exploits as a Social Engineer. Social Engineering is the use of deception to manipulate individuals to gain access to secure locations and divulge confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes. The stories here start with his first nerve-wracking assignment to rob a bank of sensitive data and goes through several other examples of using social engineering to trick clients into letting him into their sensitive areas and computer systems.
The book begins with the first assignment where nerves were at a high, the realization that it is shockingly easy to be successful at performing these jobs, and continues through many other exploits. Every job is a new challenge to see how far he can push the limits and remain in character attempting to get into places he shouldn’t be. To date, he’s never been caught, and a decade later he still gets nervous in the moments leading up to the start of the job.
“I sat in the parking lot, trying to maintain my composure. What do I know about pest inspection? My palms were sweating, my gear bag was sitting on the seat next to me. My outfit was complete with kneepads (skateboarding kneepads at that), safety goggles, work boots, cargo pants, and a work shirt. My nervousness certainly helped the disheveled look. I had forgotten to shave or clean my nails. I certainly looked the part (in my mind anyway), but what do I know about pest inspection? The question repeated over and over in my head.”
Coming from a background of largely being an introvert and avoiding interactions with people as much as possible, it wasn’t an easy task for him to start performing these jobs. Until he made a realization.
“[It] became an acting gig with an up-close, personal audience. The shy nervousness faded away as I slipped into this role. At that moment, I learned I can be anything I want to be. I can be loud and outspoken in a room. I can play the role of whatever I need to be at that time. The days of being shy and awkward were over when I wanted them to be over. I stepped through the threshold a different person.”