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What is Social Engineering?

Engineering is the English word for ‘assembling’ or ‘building’. Social engineering is a method that criminals use to convince someone else to share sensitive information. They do this by playing on human (or social) traits, such as curiosity, helpfulness, and trust, but also insecurity, fear, or greed.

A form of manipulation.

In essence, social engineering is a form of manipulation. It is used in various forms of online crime. Think of fake emails supposedly from your bank or the government asking you to click on a link and share your (business) details (phishing). Or a message that you supposedly receive from one of your (grand)children in financial distress, asking you to transfer money as quickly as possible (WhatsApp fraud). Therefore, it is good to consider what information you share online and with whom.
Reference Notes:

You may already be aware of my collaboration with the Dutch government and their endorsement of my Information Security PubQuiz. If not, you can read about it here. Regrettably, the government education site that underpins part of my PubQuizzes is not available in English. Therefore, I’ve translated the articles from “” and “” and you can read them on my site. The original source for this article, in Dutch, can be found here.