Subliminal Hacking
The Art and Science of Social Engineering


September 30, 2010

Exploiting the Brain … The Power of Language

An experienced and effective social engineer has two main qualities.
First of all they have the social part, they have the ability to blend in, build relationship, establish rapport, and make that unconscious connection. This the the extent of many social engineers, however a really effective one also understands there is an engineering part. The engineering part covers what we talk about on this site, the engineering part is concerned with how things work and why, we repeat processes even when they fail, so we can learn, adapt and get our mental exploit working.

In my studies (as obvious as it may sound) I have come to realise that everything comes back to language in some form. Be it body language, hypnotic language, various linguistic formats or mentalism. All of these techniques are utilising the vulnerabilities of the human mind, creating an opportunity, a gap, and injecting our own commands into this newly formed gap.

So how does this work, well these are my thoughts.


First of all I want you to understand these numbers. The subconscious mind is receiving 11,000,000 million pieces of information per second, however it only passes 16 to 40 pieces of this information (0.00054%) that is has prioritised as important and significant to our conscious mind to form our perception of reality. Crazy stuff.
We also have the limbic system that is controlling the emotions, and animalistc fight or flight tendencies, and is giving off alot of our subconscious body language.

So based on this information what can we assume. If we want to manipulate people we need to make our communications a priority, so when the conscious mind questions, and takes actions, our suggestions, our influence, our objectives are communicated in that 16 – 40 pieces of information. We can get an idea of what’s going on in the subconscious based on the signals / tells we are getting from the body, and we can simply ask what is being experienced, after all simple is best, lets not make more of this than is needed.

So what have I learnt about how we can actually get the information injected. Like I said earlier, its all about language. Is NLP reprogramming the brain, or just re-prioritising information? Is Hypnosis really Hypnosis, are we altering states? Can we really control and read peoples minds?

I think all of these things are the same. Our reality is formed based on our conscious beliefs, and this is based on the information communicated from our subconscious. With hypnosis you are pacing and leading, you are confirming conscious reality, this in turn creates a kind of mindless state, the yes set, we then make of suggestion, we lead to something else. Our subconscious minds then communicate this as part of the priority information, reality is changed, and the result is the desired outcome.

So essentially we can bombard the subconscious with information, it may not make conscious sense but this is not important. The mind is helpful, it fills in the gaps, and makes sense of supposed garbled instructions so the conscious mind can make sense of things. When we inject our code, we can be subtle, ambiguous or very direct, this will all depend on the situation and our subject. I talk about this in a somewhat hypnotic manner, as in my experience this is how I can relate to things best, you can be ambiguous that one of the feet will stick, or you can say the left foot will stick. However I think that hypnosis is a label for something very specific, relating to a some what therapeutic or entertainment situation. We can get the focus needed at any time, and use the power of language to influence our outcome.

So how do we get this focus, how do we create our opportunity to exploit? We create a gap, a window in the minds processing. We do this by creating confusion at some level, by interrupting the planned flow of events (a pattern interrupt). In this moment of interruption, we have a gap of 1 – 3 seconds, and in that small window we have leverage, we can start issuing our instructions, essentially tricking the mind into creating a reality that makes sense to the conscious mind, based on the instructions we communicated direct to the subconscious.

Obviously everyone is different, and thinks, acts and processes things in different ways, so its not a one size fits all. So practice is required, as well as baseline observation, we need to presuppose a situation, create the confusion, the focus, and then exploit.

Just being aware of these concepts, and the processes that are used for therapy, entertainment and anything else that appears to get inside your head, can make you mindful to these threats, and give you a level of protection. However fully exposing yourself, and learning how to do this for yourself gives you the ultimate level of protection, as you are constantly learning and analysing.

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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.


    1. creating this windowor making this 2 or 3 seconds gap let us the chance to seed an idea or control the will of an stranger
      I mean , like in a job interview or maybe yu need some money por a huge proyect ,you need to convince people about what your proyect is about ?
      you create the situation and you jump with the idea in the gap of 3 seconds???

    2. […] else, and the doorway kinda stimulates this to some extent. In an older post of mine “Exploiting The Brain” I talk about how our subconscious gathers so much information, but only provides our […]

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