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The Art of Deception

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The Art of Deception

Controlling the Human Element of Security


15 min read
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10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Don’t let a con artist steal from your firm by hoodwinking your people. The weakest link in your security system is probably the untrained employee — but you can fix that.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


In The Art of Deception, Kevin D. Mitnick, a corporate security consultant who was once arrested for computer hacking, has written a fascinating book about how to control security lapses due to the "human element." With writer William L. Simon, he describes how con artists use social engineering to gain information by lying to pass themselves off as insiders. By being sensitive to human behavior and taking advantage of trust, they learn to bypass your security systems. The book teaches you how to ward off such threats and educate employees. Yet, problematically, this information could also help con artists be more sophisticated. In any case, this highly informative, engaging book includes sample conversations that open the door to information, along with tips about how various cons are used and what to do about them. recommends this book to corporate officers, information managers, human resource directors and security personnel, but don’t tell anybody.


Getting Started in the Security Profession

In his criminal heyday, the media reported on author Kevin Mitnick as a malicious hacker and the subject of a transcontinental search. But now, he has served his prison time and gone straight as a corporate security consultant. He got his start at age twelve, when he discovered how to mark bus passes and get free rides. In high school, his hobby was phone "phreaking," finding out information about the phone system and its employees. He used the info to make free long-distance calls. After high school, he graduated to breaking into computer systems, often by using his social engineering skills.

Essentially, social engineers - a type of con artists - use their skills of influence and persuasion to deceive people. The con who swindles and cheats people out of their money is a "grafter," while the con who is a social engineer uses deception, influence, and persuasion against businesses, usually targeting their information. Mitnick’s lies, curiosity and eagerness to learn all about phone networks and computer security made him "the world’s most notorious hacker." Now, being both reformed and informed, he wants to help governments...

About the Authors

Kevin D. Mitnick , a security consultant to corporations worldwide, co-founded DefensiveThinking, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm. He has testified before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs about the need for legislation to ensure the security of the government’s information systems. His articles have been published in major news magazines and trade journals, he is a frequent keynote speaker and he has appeared on numerous TV programs, including Court TV, Good Morning America and 60 Minutes. Once known for hacking into security systems, the ex-prisoner has reformed and now helps corporations and government agencies with security protection. William L. Simon is a bestselling author and an award-winning film and TV writer.

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