We imagine individuals bent over computers, rapidly typing in a mortal battle with opposing hackers.
The struggle goes back and forth, until finally, one side wins — breaching their opponent’s encryption, downloading terabytes of secrets, and stealing away triumphant.
This might make for good television, but it’s also far-removed from real hacking.
And the most versatile tool in a hacker’s arsenal is a technique called social engineering.
As the recent Kaspersky intrusion shows, hackers can (and have) snuck into networks and simply waited there, watching their opponent’s every move and vacuuming up sensitive data.
Even as our technology improves exponentially, it’s limited by one important factor: the human brain.