“If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect” (Benjamin Franklin)

While the term “social engineering” may not have existed in the 1700’s, Benjamin Franklin’s statement describes precisely what social engineers attempt to accomplish when executing malicious cyberattacks.

Effective social engineering requires that a person’s intellect, often influenced by their human nature and human curiosity, is over-ridden by their interest.

Whether through emails, texts, or phones, cybercriminals have become proficient at creating high levels of interest that regularly supersede the recipient’s intellect by manipulating our emotions of accommodation, fear, greed, helpfulness, obedience, and urgency. Urgency is often one of the first emotions social engineers incorporate, typically causing their target to fear missing out on an an attractive offer or required response that must be responded to immediately.