Using deception to obtain confidential information from someone by phone or in person. For example, the "social engineer" may persuade someone to reveal an ID or password for a supposed benign purpose (my computer is down, can I use yours in the meantime). Sometimes, a combination of social engineering and hacker skills are used to steal information. However, no matter how secure a network may be, the "con" played by the social engineer is often the most effective way to break in.|
Outside the computer world, social engineering means to influence attitudes and behaviors. See pretexting and shoulder surfing.