Hackers have a dirty secret—and no, it’s not that they still live in their parents’ basement and suffer from an unhealthy obsession with Alison Brie. It’s that much of their success at infiltrating a target’s social media account, PC, or company servers relies not on technical skill but on being really good at faking it.
Known as social engineering, hackers will often simply trick their targets into handing over their sensitive data. Sometimes it only takes asking a hapless customer service agent to turn over your private info. But other times, it requires more heavy-duty equipment.
Gizmodo recently met with the cybersecurity experts at Netragard, who busted out their hacker toolbox of social engineering gadgets. Using this nefarious gear, a skilled social engineer can just walk through a corporation’s office wearing an inconspicuous disguise, vacuum up employees’ RFID card data from up to 10 feet away with a scanner, access restricted areas of the office using an NFC card emulator, and pop a fiber optic clip-on coupler directly onto a company’s internet line.
So next time you see a random pizza delivery guy slinking his way through your office, remember: he may be there to do more than just deliver lunch.
This story was produced with support from the Mozilla Foundation as part of its mission to educate individuals about their security and privacy on the internet.