Social Engineering and the Forer effect.

“As a reader of the Max Technical Training blogs, I can tell that you are really astute. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage…” 😉 Since I am writing a new version of my coursebook on Security Fundamentals, Social Engineering and the Forer effect is on my mind.


Since I am writing a new version of my coursebook on Security Fundamentals, Social Engineering is on my mind.

I noticed today, someone on my FaceBook feed posted (unwittingly I suppose) a page using a technique used to manipulate people called Barnum effect, also called the Forer effect. The Forer effect is a form of Cold Reading in which the ‘victim’ is a more than willing participant in the con. Generally, the con is to get the victim to traffic a site or buy a publication, the deception is secondary to the con and is often so powerful as to be self propagating.

You don’t hear much about the Forer effect as it is only one of the tools in the unethical hackers toolkit, however, as Click Bait systems become more profitable I think we can expect this tool to become quite prevalent in use. Typically, the only way to protect yourself is to understand the mechanism.

You have likely not heard of the Forer effect, which gives the users of the technique an advantage, but I think it is highly likely you have seen it in use.

Stop on over to the Wikipedia and check it out, and please remember we can only use it ethically for entertainment or educational purposes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnum_effect

If you would like to learn more about hacker cons like the Forer effect or Clickbait systems you might want to check out our upcoming Security Awareness Course that I wrote and will be teaching. 

Security Awareness for IT Staff and Information Workers

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