Term used among crackers and security professionals for cracking techniques that rely on weaknesses in process rather than software; the aim is to trick people into revealing passwords or other information that compromises a target system’s security. Classic scams include phoning up a user or helpdesk who has the required information and posing as a field service tech or a fellow employee with an urgent access problem.
This refers to a direct communication, either in person, by phone, by fax or over the Internet, designed to trick you into providing your personal information. These messages usually ask you to "update" or "confirm" information by typing in a reply or clicking on a link. Legitimate institutions, such as banks, do not send e-mail or IM of this nature due to security concerns on the Internet. "Phishing" is a prime example of social engineering.
The act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. It relies on human interactions, such as trying to gain the confidence of someone through trickery or deception for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or computer system access. This can take many forms, both online and offline.
Social Engineering has been defined 7 different ways in documents like SANS Glossary of Terms, FFIEC IT Examination InfoBase, Glossary, Information Assurance, and 4 more.