Subliminal Hacking
The Art and Science of Social Engineering


March 1, 2011

Social Compliance and Manipulation… The Art of Confidence

As human beings we are very good at making excuses, and always believing that some how we have it worse than the other guy. There is often that mentality that, its not we don’t want to do this or that, its just that ………. add any excuse you want. When you speak to people about where these excuses stem from, it often comes down to an apparent lacking in confidence, and the other guy has so much confidence, and that is why they are successful. To some extent this may be true, perhaps the other guys does have so much confidence, or at least that is the perception.


So when it comes to getting your social engineering foo on, I am sure you would expect that confidence plays a pretty essential part in getting people to comply with your requests and manipulate people in such a way to reach your desired outcome. In many ways you are correct, confidence is a key component. However I would prefer you think of it as the Art of Confidence is essential to success.

Confidence is many things to many people, when I talk to people about what confidence feels like to them in a hypnosis context you hear some very strange definitions. However these strange definitions did help me realise something, confidence is something that is very personal, and might not actually make sense at a concious level. The dictionary says confidence is freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities, a state of confident hopefulness that events will be favourable.

I think confidence is really not something you can clearly label. Confidence is a result of many different attributes, so when someone says they don’t feel confident, its not really as simple as one thing (its not a simple flick of a switch), however you can get realisation after taking certain steps to realise confidence is some what of a placebo.

So what is the Art of Confidence? The Art of Confidence is a lacking of fear. If you ask someone why they are not confident of something, the end result is normally a fear. Why wont you speak to the woman at the other end of the bar? Fear of rejection or looking stupid. Why wont you call a company and ask for information, or a discount? Fear of intimidation, or failure. Why wont you attempt to SE your way into this building? What if I get caught, or I forget my cover story, etc etc. These are all valid, but they don’t need to be.

So if to be confident we need to lose our fear, what do we need to do. We can achieve this in a few ways, first of all knowledge is power. If we study body language we can understand what fear looks like, the subconscious signs our body gives away to alert others to the fact we nervous etc. Knowing our subject matter, if we are pretending that are an engineer we should have a good level of knowledge of what that looks like, the dialogue that is used, the basic knowledge that should be known during your interactions, and having done the appropriate reconnaissance of what your target is doing, backgrounds, specialities etc. Having a plan and process is also very important. The plan should cover all angles with multiple steps to achieve your goal, what to do when confronted, how to handle awkward situations, and how to bail out gracefully. Finally self belief, just believe and act like what ever you are doing you have done a million times before, both with success and failure, you are the oracle, your are Mr / Mrs Informed, look, feel and act confident. This is very important, a large majority of subconscious tells are removed when you really believe in yourself and what your trying to do, just seeing the talent shows on TV is more than a good example of this.

Its important to note that demonstrating the Art of Confidence does not alleviate all fear (fear is important to success to), clearly there are going to be times that you are crapping yourself, but its how you handle it, and ensuring you still project yourself as confident. Appearing confident is a very attractive trait, and it puts you in a kind of Alpha state. When in this position people are less likely to question you, they are more likely to assume you are in a position of authority, and we all know even if something doesn’t feel right, or we should really do it, we may turn a blind eye when those in authority request it.

Some final thoughts for what may also make you feel confident are the following. Reciprocation, you may feel more confident when asking someone to do something if you have previously given or done them a favour. Perhaps you bought them a drink, picked up some paper work when they dropped it, open a door for them etc. Humour, we all feel more at ease around someone with a good sense of humour and appropriate jokes. So if you have a quick wit, and think fast on your feet, and know some half decent jokes you may also use this in your favour. Reasoning, we know from other posts and studies that we respond more favourably when we have justification for a request. So as part of your planning and process work, define some reasons for why you are requesting what you ask for, or the actions that you take as these will be accepted more favourably.

Remember the BIG BECAUSE. Everything in life happens for a reason, the things we say, the way we act, everything. So give time and thought to why you are confident, why you belong, why your are successful. We can often easily remember and think of negative, but focusing on the positive is a more productive approach of our time, and will lead to a happier more successful outcome.


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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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