Subliminal Hacking
The Art and Science of Social Engineering



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April 26, 2010

NLP Patterns… Not quite needle work and stitching

We have had our brief introduction to NLP, buts now lets give you some patterns you can try out and put to good use. I will point out that many NLP patterns seem very simple, but you need to remember they are all words we are familiar with. NLP is all about the construction of the sentence, and the use of language in an appropriate context. Be brave and try them out, you may be surprised by the results.

If you check out the resources page I have recommended a couple of books, obviously these will be growing lists over time. The aim of the following is just to give you some examples of NLP Patterns / Sentences to give you some awareness, and to give you something to try out yourself.

As stated before I am not a NLP Practitioner, however the use of language, and understanding how to construct your sentences for manipulation and influence is knowledge worth having. See what you think, give them a go, and then research them further.

Redefinition – Changing the focus of conversation from their point, to your point, and then applying focus with a question. Imagine using this pattern when posing as a network engineer.

The issue is not about me not having my ID badge with me, but about the consequences to the business if I don’t repair the fault with the firewall. Can you imagine the trouble we will both be in if I don’t get this sorted ASAP?

What we are achieving here is refocusing on what is important to you, and using a question to ensure visualisation and consideration for your point of view.

Agreement Framing – Creating an opportunity to voice an opinion and increasing peoples attention through agreement. Imagine using this scenario when looking to get approval for an expensive conference.

I agree that the cost of attending Defcon is expensive, and that is why so much useful information, and valuable networking is available. I would add the issue isn’t the expense, but the value of information and contacts that will be gained from attending.

We take the approach of agreement, as when we state we disagree people shut down and don’t listen. Using agreement is interpreted that we agree with what was said, so we pay attention, and then listen to the additional information.

Interruption – Interrupting or defusing a situation by interrupting the train of thought, and the set out planned activities with a random pattern of information. Imagine a situation during an SE exercise and you are found to be somewhere you shouldn’t be, and someone is all set to escort you out and contact security.

You are approached rapidly, and as the person starts to talk and question you, you blurt out something completely random “Damn I forgot to feed my fish”. In confusion the person starts to question, you interrupt again “I have lovely fish, I bet you would love to see them”. You then move along the conversation, and make your exit as appropriate.

The approach here is really a pattern interrupt. You are stopping someone in their tracks from their planned actions both physical and verbal. You have then added confusion with a random and unrelated statement. When the question begins, you again interrupt. This is about changing perception and even where possible build rapport. Approach this one with caution is my advice, unless a close get away is available, it may result in receiving physical harm 🙂

Awareness – Bringing attention and focus to a topic, using language that will help visualise the topic / concept.

Do you realise how powerful NLP patterns can be to a social engineer? Imagine the experiences you will be able to achieve with this new found knowledge.

The objective of the awareness pattern is to provide information, that ensures people become aware of a topic, this may be subconscious but it will often not be questioned. In the event of questioning it could be followed up with another similar pattern.

Obviously these are just a few examples, there are many defined patterns in many books. The idea here is for you to get some examples, you can then spot them when you hear them, and easily create your own.

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    About the Author

    Dale Pearson

    has worked in IT since 1998, Infosec since 2004, and studied and performed hypnosis, mentalism etc since 2009.
    Dale is a full time Red Teamer with a love of social engineering and qualified hypnotherapist. He spends a great deal of time researching the various skills and techniques that make up the art and science of Social Engineering.







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