Each week the CyberWire’s Hacking Humans Podcast looks behind the social engineering scams, phishing schemes, and criminal exploits that are making headlines and taking a heavy toll on organizations around the world. We talk to social engineering experts, security pros, cognitive scientists, and those practiced in the arts of deception (perhaps even a magician or two). We also hear from people targeted by social engineering attacks and learn from their experiences.
Hacking Humans Episode List
The fallacy of futility.
Dave describes a ponzi scheme that bought up legitimate investment firms. Joe shares research into deep fakes. The catch of the day includes an invitation to join the illuminati. Ray [REDACTED] returns with followup from his prior visit, along with new information to share.
Don't trust the ransomware to tell you its real name.
Joe describes online redirect scams, URL encoding and the clever combination of the two. Dave shares delightful satire about Russian brides and Nigerian princes, together at last. The catch of the day involves a student getting the best of scammers, getting them to send him money. Our guest is Fabian Wosar from Emsisoft, well-known for decrypting ransomware.
The ultimate hacking tool.
Joe reviews highlights from a Proofpoint report on the human aspects of cyber attacks. Dave describes the FTC's cases against online dating site Match.com. The catch of the day comes straight from Her Majesty the Queen. Carole Theriault returns with an interview with Corin Imai, Senior Security adviser at DomainTools, about phishing attacks they’ve been tracking in the UK.
The usefulness of single sign on.
Joe outlines online threats from social media. Dave shares a story of scammers try to scare a community into purchasing security products. The catch of the day features a promise of riches from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. Our guest is Yaser Masoudnia from Logmein who addresses listener questions about Single Sign On.
Algorithms controlling truth in our society.
Special guest host Graham Cluley joins Dave while Joe takes a short break. Dave shares the success of the FBI's reWired campaign which has apprehended alleged scammers around the world. Graham describes a website hoping to spare users the hardship of multifactor authentication. The catch of the day involves a generous soccer star. Our guest is Matt Price from ZeroFOX with insights on Deep Fake technology.
An ethical hacker can be a teacher.
A listener updates us on "notice of arrest" policies. Dave notes increased instances of Google Calendar spam. Joe shares a claim that AI voice mimicry was used to dupe a company out of nearly a quarter million dollars. (Dave is skeptical.) The catch of the day accuses the target of naughty behavior. Carole Theriault interviews ethical hacker Zoe Rose.
Think before you post.
Follow-up from down under. Joe shares the story of a Mom scammed out of Gaelic Football League tickets. Dave describes a bounty hunter hoaxing suicide threats to get location information from mobile providers. The catch of the day requires a response from the grave. Our guest is Ben Yelin, senior law and policy analyst from the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. He digs in to a particular Facebook scam that refuses to die.
Securing your SMS.
Dave shares a story of digital voice assistants being channeled toward scammers. Joe tracks scammers taking advantage of social tools on the Steam gaming platform. The catch of the day involves South African kickbacks. Our guest is researcher/technologist Ray [REDACTED], who shares his expertise on scammers targeting SMS.
Backups backups backups.
Joe describes a primitive (but effective) phishing scheme being tracked by Bleeping Computer. Dave shares news from a Black Hat presentation on phishing stats from Google. The catch of the day is a friendly invitation from Hawaii. Our guest is Michael Gillespie from Emsisoft describing the ID Ransomware project.
Swamping search results for reputation management
Dave shares the story of a small community hospital dealing with a ransomware attack. Joe reviews the different types of extortion emails. The catch of the day is an inheritance scam from Canada. Carole Theriault interviews Craig Silverman from Buzzfeed about online reputation management companies.
Positive pretexting on the rise
Joe shares a cautionary Facebook tale from his own life. Dave has the story of an Australian IT company put out of business by scammers. The catch of the day tracks the response writer and comedian Dave Holmes had to scammers pretending to be from the IRS. Rachel Tobac from Social Proof Security returns with voting security information and the latest scams she's been tracking.
Images are the language of the brain.
Dave outlines a church donation scam. Joe shares reporting from Ars Technica on romance scams coming out of Africa. The catch of the day is courtesy of London comedian James Veitch Our guest is Garry Berman from Cyberman Security who's developed a cyber security comic book series to help raise awareness.
Looking after Dad
Joe shares a story on the market economy of phishing. Dave explains how gamers are being taken advantage of on popular chat app Discord. The catch of the day included a little bit of showbiz razzle-dazzle. Our anonymous guest this week shares his efforts to keep his father from falling for online scams.
The skills gap disconnect.
Dave shares a listener story of scammers calling drug stores to try to gather customer rewards points. Joe describes federal contractors being scammed out of over $10 million of hardware, some of it classified communications equipment. The catch of the day starts with a bank email scam and ends with a Rick roll. Carole Theriault speaks with Michael Madon, head of security at Mimecast about the cyber security skills gap.
Know and spot the patterns.
Joe shares the heartbreaking tale of a catphishing case that leads to murder. Dave describes a shoe company using an unusual method to trick engagement with an online ad. The catch of the day engages a Nigerian scammer promising a fortune in precious minerals. Dave interview Michael Coates, head of Altitude Networks and former CISO at Twitter.
Be wary of all emails.
Dave shares the story of one Katie Jones, the fake online persona used to gain the confidence of high-status individuals. Joe describes the tragic case of Christine Lu, a Harvard Medical professor who was scammed out of her life savings. The Catch of the Day warns recipients not to trust the FBI. Carole Theriault interviews Akamai's Larry Cashdollar about scammers using Google Translate to obfuscate web sites.
The knowledge / intention behavior gap.
Joe shares the story of an elaborate check fraud scam involving HR impersonators. Dave reads an email from a listener who got phished by his own company, and has questions about authorization app vs. hardware keys. Our catch of the day involves an orphan looking to share her inheritance. Dave interviews author Perry Carpenter, who's new book is Transformational Security Awareness: What Neuroscientists, Storytellers, and Marketers Can Teach Us about Driving Secure Behaviors.
Just because I trusted you yesterday doesn't mean I trust you today.
Dave describes researchers spotting scammers on dating sites using AI. Joe shares a phishing scheme that asks users to manage undelivered mail. The catch of the day involves cute puppies and Mogwai meat. Dave interview Avi Solomon, director of information technology for Rumberger, Kirk and Caldwell, an Orlando, Florida litigation firm.
The best way to break in is to walk through the front door.
Joe describes one of history's great con artists, Victor Lustig, who sold the Eiffel Tower. Twice. Dave shares a story from a listener involving a UPS tracking number scam. The catch of the day involves am attempted romance scam on the XBOX platform. Dave interviews Sherri Davidoff, CEO of LMG Security and is the hacker named "Alien" in Jeremy Smith's book, Breaking and Entering. She has her own book coming out this summer, Data Breaches: Crisis and Opportunity.
Be willing to admit you don't know everything.
Dave reviews Google's recent security report on basic account hygiene. Joe describes passive social engineering, including USB charging stations at airports. The catch of the day exposes a trunk box scam involving ill-gotten war profits. Carole Theriault speaks with the head of a group that call themselves Scam Survivors.