Black HatSocial Engineering

Communication Modeling

Communication is the process of transferring the information from one entity to another. Communication entails the interaction between at least two agents, and can be perceived as a two-way process in which there is an exchange of information and a progression of thoughts, feelings, or ideas toward a mutually accepted goal or direction.

This concept is very similar to the definition of the social engineering, except the assumption is that those involved in the communication already have a common goal, whereas the goal of the social engineer is to use communication to create a common goal.

Communication is a process whereby information is enclosed in a package and is channeled and imparted by a sender to a receiver via some medium.

The receiver than decodes the message and gives the sender feedback. All forms of communication require a sender, a message, and a receiver.

Understanding how communication works is essential to developing a proper communication model as a social engineer. Modeling your communication as a social engineer will help us to decide the best method of delivery, the best method for feedback, and the best message to include.

Communication can take many different forms. There are auditory means, such as speech, song, and tone of voice, and there are nonverbal means, such as body language, sign language, touch, and eye contact.

Regardless of the type of communication used, the message and how it delivered will have a definite effect on the receiver.

Understanding the basic ground rules is essential to building a model for a target. Social rules cannot be broken, such as the communication always has a sender and a receiver. Also everyone has different personal realities that are built and affected by their past experience and their perceptions.

Everyone perceives, experiences, and interprets things differently based on these personal realities. Any given event will always be perceived differently by different people because of this fact. If you have siblings, a neat exercise to prove this is to ask them their interpretation or memory of an event, especially if it is an emotional event. You will see that their interpretation of this event is very different from what you remember.

Each person has both a physical and a mental personal space. You will allow or disallow people to enter that space or get close to you depending on many factors. When communication with a person in any fashion, you are trying to enter their personal space.

As a social engineer communicates they are trying to bring someone else into their space and share their personal realities. Effective communication attempts to bring all participants into each other’s mental location. This happens with all interactions, but because it is so common people do it without thinking about it.

In interpersonal communication two layers of the messages are being sent: verbal and nonverbal.

Communication usually contains a verbal or language portion, whether it is in spoken, written, or expressed word. It also usually has a nonverbal portion—facial expressions, body language, or some non-language message like emoticons or fonts.

Regardless of the amount of each type of cue (verbal or nonverbal), this communication packet is sent to the receiver and then filtered through her personal reality. She will form a concept based on her reality, then based on that will start to interpret this packet. As the receiver deciphers this message she begins to unscramble its meaning, even if that meaning is not what the sender intended.

The sender will known whether his packet is received the way he intended if they receive gives a communication packet in return to indicate her acceptance or denial of the original packet.

Here the packet is the form of communication: the words or letters or emails sent. When the receiver gets the message she has to decipher it. Many factors depend on how it is interpreted. Is she in a good mood, bad mood, happy, sad, angry, compassionate—all of these things as well as other cues that alter her perception will help her to decipher that message.

The social engineer’s goal has to be to give the verbal and nonverbal cues the advantage to alter the target’s perception so as to have the impact the social engineer desires.

Some more basic rules for communication include the following:

  • Never take for granted that the receiver has the same reality as you.
  • Never take for granted that the receiver will interpret the message the way it was intended.
  • Communication is not an absolute, finite thing.
  • Always assume as many different realities exist as there are different people involved in the communication.

Knowing these rules can greatly enhance the ability for good and useful communications. This is all good and great but what does communication have to do with developing a model? Even more, what does it have to do with social engineering?



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