Social Engineering

Have you watched songs on the Vevo music website recently. I am sure you would have done unknowingly as a large number of the popular music videos are hosted by Vevo are on youtube as well. Vevo hosts music videos of major record labels like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI.

Yesterday I was watching this song by Police called Roxanne which I have to admit is a beautifully composed song. But without talking much about the song, the reason for this post is not the music but about an interesting thing I noticed on the website. See if you can notice that in these two snap shots of the screen.

 Notice the region below the video where you have the advertisement for “Rise above 1”. Did you notice how those quotation marks have been made to look. Yes they look absolutely like the pause button. Notice the similarily here.  We can be so easily tricked into clicking that advertisement mistaking it for the pause button.

 You know what this is called? This is called social engineering. A classic example of it. Social engineering is defined in various ways.

  • Social engineering in general is the euphemistic term for convince
  • Social engineering in political science, efforts to influence society on a large scale
  • Social engineering in security, the practice of obtaining confidential information by manipulating and/or deceiving people.

Nowadays we are socially engineered in a variety of ways especially on the internet. I read a report written by one of my friends and according to the report the top three ways we are prone to this kind of attack are:

  • Vishing: – through phone calls which ask you to reveal confidential data
  • Social networking: collecting personal information from social networking websites. Ex: personalized advertisement
  • Neuro linguistic programming: Manipulating human mind by understand people’s mind and behavior.

    I think the VEVO example falls under the Neuro linguistic attack! This might be an innocent case of social engineering but we better keep our eyes wide open cause the most confidential details like credit card info and social security numbers could be pilfered right in front of our eyes!


Posted on July 29, 2011, in computers, internet and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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