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
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.
People aren't perfectly rational.
A listener writes in with the results of his phishing attempt on his wife. Joe describes research from F-Secure on the most dangerous email attachment types. Dave shares the story of scammers impersonating local hospitals to scare a response from their victims. Our catch of the day involves a LinkedIn scam impersonating a fighter pilot. Joe interviews Elissa Redmiles, an incoming assistant professor of computer science at Princeton University. She studies behavioral modeling to understand why people behave the way they do online.
Live at KB4CON 2019
Dave describes a late-night phone call scam, Joe explains a Social Security scheme, Stu shares deadly catch of the day, and Kevin shares stories from his own hacking experience, and takes questions from the audience.
A data-driven approach to trust.
Joe describes a church scammed out of millions of dollars. Dave shares good news about a group of scammers being apprehended and arrested. The catch of the day involves a Vietnamese investment offer that's almost too good to pass up on. Dave speaks with Dr. Richard Ford from Forcepoint about the models of trust.
Twitter bots amplifying divisive messages.
Followup from listeners on Google search result scams. Dave describes the city of Ottawa sending $100K to a fraudster. Joe shares results from the FBI's Internet Crime Report. The catch of the day involves a dating site and an offer to be someone's "sugar daddy." Our guest is Andy Patel from F-Secure, describing how Twitter bots are amplifying divisive messages.
Let's play, "Covered by cyber insurance — true or false?"
Dave and Joe answer a listener question about a mysterious Netflix account. Dave describes a service for Airbnb scammers. Joe explains a particularly "nasty" Instagram scam. Carole Theriault interviews cyber insurance expert Martin Overton from OMG Cyber.
I have been practicing honesty and truthfulness my whole life.
Followup from an Australian listener. Dave shares a Paypal scam leveraging Google ads. Joe describes TechCrunch reporting on a spam service that was left out in the open. The catch of the day promises a lifetime supply of gold. Dave interviews Asaf Cidon from Barracuda Networks.
Scammers have no ethics whatsoever.
Joe describes a study of people's perceptions when presented with a magic trick. Dave shares the story of fake boyfriend app. Our catch of the day involves the promise of millions from a bank in Africa. Dave interviews Chris Parker from WhatIsMyIPaddress.com.
Girl Scouts empowering cyber security leaders.
Dave describes a survey of call center security methods. Joe explains a spam campaign raising the specter of a flu pandemic to scare people into enabling macros in an Office document. The catch of the day highlights a Facebook scammer promising a prize-winning windfall. Carole Theriault returns with a story about special badges Girl Scouts can earn for cyber security.
Pick a persona to match the goal.
Followup on remotely previewing websites. Joe has the story of scammer bilking Facebook and Google out of millions. Dave reviews best practices for deleting data on devices you dispose of. The catch of the day is an offer of criminal partnering with the CIA. Our guest is Jeremy N. Smith, author of the book Breaking and Entering - the extraordinary story of a hacker called "Alien".
Kids are a great target.
A listener recommends an online tool for safely previewing web sites. Dave shares research on what time of the work week is best for scams. Joe explains credential stuffing. Our guest is Frances Dewing, the CEO and co-founder of Rubica. They recently published a report on how crooks are accessing parents’ mobile devices via apps their kids load.
When we rush we make bad decisions.
Joe tracks the surprising number of malicious links hosted on legit websites and why it's dangerous. Dave describes an extortion scheme targeting podcasters. Our catch of the day involves a lonely Russian woman promoting a dating site. Dave interviews Gary Noesner, author of Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator.
Don't assume younger people get it.
Followup on last week's TLD discussion. Dave shares a sextortion scam with a tragic ending. Joe highlights conveyance scams that rely on certain days of the week. Our catch of the day features a wealthy Londoner hoping to pass on her fortune. Guest Dale Zabriskie from Proofpoint has results from their State of the Phish report.
Delivering yourself to a kidnapper.
Joe describes fraudsters taking advantage of top-level domain name confusion. Dave explains how a Google Nest security system shipped with an undocumented microphones. Our catch of the day involves a postcard missed package campaign. Our guest is Matt Devost from OODA LLC describing their work protecting high-net-worth individuals.
Stop and think before you click that link.
We've got followup from a listener on cognitive dissonance and behavioral science. Dave shares a listener story about a University Dean's List scam. Joe shares statistics from a government agency phishing test. Our catch of the day involves funds from the FBI, the IMF, and yes, Nigeria. Dave interviews Crane Hassold from Agari with phishing trends they've been tracking, plus his experiences as a former FBI agent.
The trauma is multifactored.
On this Valentines Day edition of Hacking Humans, Joe and Dave examine romance scams, including the sad tale of woman bilked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. There's a silly, non-murdering catch of the day, and Dave interviews Max Kilger from UTSA on the six motivations of bad actors.
Make it seem like the real answer is impossible to know.
Dave shares a bank spoofing scam with a reminder to mind those links, especially on mobile devices. Joe describes a case of someone turning the tables on a Twitter scammer. Our catch of the day involves a clumsy claim of physical harm. Dave interviews author Dave Levitan about his book Not a Scientist: "How politicians mistake, misrepresent and utterly mangle science."
The excitement of tricking someone wears off quickly.
We've got followup on bank scams and ransomware. Joe describes a highly sophisticated multinational business scam. Dave shares a story about private school parents falling for a Bitcoin discount scam. Our guest is Jordan Harbinger, host of The Jordan Harbinger Show, with insights on influence and social engineering.