Get any information you want from anybody

When media stories about successful hacking attacks make headlines, the public perception is that the ability to hack is a mysterious and dark art. Often, the image is one of a young, socially inept but really clever computer nerd, typing complicated code on his keyboard.

Yet, the reality is much simpler. Hacking is defined as the unauthorised access to or control over a computer network security system for personal gain. The computer network security system can be a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, pc, a network or the cloud. It can also be poorly secured, easy to penetrate and open to abuse.

In much the same way that you can sometimes gain access to a locked room or building without knowing how to use lock picks ( door not locked, window left open, spare key etc.), so you can hack without learning Java, Python, LISP or any of the other hacking languages.

When a British teenager named Kane Gamble hacked the then CIA Director’s confidential information on his computer; and News of the World journalists accessed voicemail on mobile phones, the technique used is called elicitation. 

Elicitation is a process for getting information from someone by getting them to react in a particular way. It is also known as “social engineering”.

6 techniques to get the information you want                                                        

  1. Accept that most people believe that others are honest and polite. Although this social conditioning ensures civil society, you can use it to your advantage. People want to be helpful 
  2. Research the source of your information. If you want personal details about a subscriber to a mobile phone company, use the language of a phone company technician when calling the customer service helpdesk.
  3. Build rapport first. Ask questions later. Rapport can be built by starting a conversation, making a comment or paying a compliment.
  4. Express disbelief or ignorance to encourage a person to defend their position or show off their knowledge.
  5. Share information so that the person will reciprocate. Sometimes, lowering your voice or prefixing a comment with the phrase” I should not be telling you this”, encourages a reciprocal response.
  6. Ask a person to elaborate on what they have already said by using flattery or pretending to be ignorant.

Often, you need to get information from someone to help you survive in a hostile environment. Attend one of our courses and learn the art of social engineering.  

H.E.A.T. tip: When eliciting information, use the conversational hourglass. This will help you ask general questions first before focusing on more specific topics. Use the person’s responses to build a fuller picture of what you require.