Identifying Vulnerabilities And Executing The Attack.
In order to successfully social engineer your target, there are a few very Important elements that must be In effect prior to even thinking about completing your objective- namely "researching", "method preparation", "executing the attack" and to finalize the process, "ending on a good note". All these work hand In hand respectively, and collectively they form the perfect Ingredients to help ensure that your SE runs as smooth as possible and with minimal complications from start to finish. Whilst It's crucial to have these measures In place with each and every attack vector, they hold very little to no value If you've yet to "Identify any vulnerabilities" against the entity you're planning to SE. In other words, It's very difficult (If not Impossible) to manipulate your victim If you haven't analyzed for flaws and weaknesses. You need a gateway (or two) to penetrate their defense mechanism, thereby allow you to perform your attack In an efficient and effective manner.
As opposed to technical-based scanning, SEing does not have scripts & programs to do the job for you. Instead, you're relying on the most powerful tool at your disposal- "your brain" and It's this that can spot loopholes Instantly, hence circumvent the task at hand with Incredible ease. Now If you're an SE'er who's been In the scene for many years to date on a consistent basis, It will all come naturally with hardly any effort Involved. On the flip side, as a beginner, there Is no crash course (so to speak) that can develop and build your mindset on par with advanced social engineers- you'd need to construct your experience and confidence level gradually from one SE to the next. So the question you're most likely about to ask Is: "What do I look for when detecting vulnerabilities?". Well, given social engineering entails and attracts countless forms exploit vectors, It's way beyond the scope of this article to even scratch the surface. What I will do however, Is provide a simple example that you can use as a general guide when hitting your very own SEs.
For the purpose of this tutorial, I will be SEing an Item that I want to return for a refund by using the "sealed box method", meaning I've replaced the original one with something of equal size & weight that I found lying around the house and sealed It as per Its original/factory state. This will be performed as an "In-Store" SE, whereby I'll physically enter the store with the Intention to manipulate the employee Into accepting my return, place It back Into stock and credit my account for the cost of the purchase product. But the first thing I need to do, Is "Identify vulnerabilities", and this Is how It's done. I've researched the store and established that their busy period where they're Inundated with customers, Is around 5:00 pm every Friday just before close of business. "This Is the first vulnerability"- they're too busy to thoroughly check returns.
Upon walking through the main entrance, there's two customer service counters- one of which has a massive queue waiting to be served. "This Is the second vulnerability"- they'd be processing requests extremely quick, thus neglecting to follow store protocol. There's three employees serving at the counter that I'm waiting at, and one Is a very young female who seems rather distressed. "This Is the third vulnerability"- females In their teens are gullible and naive and along with being stressed, she's the perfect target. I've approached her and kindly asked that I'd like a refund on my return and at the same time, I purposely knocked over the Eftpos machine, leaving her to pickup the pieces. This added to the (already) out of control environment, hence collectively, all vulnerabilities significantly helped to SE the young female Into Issuing a refund- no questions asked. You can use this as a general guide when formulating your very own social engineering attack.