n Acta Criminologica : African Journal of Criminology & Victimology - The criminogenic significance of social engineering and the need for information security

Special Edition 4
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


During the course of history, human beings have sought to protect and secure themselves against all types of threats to their well-being and their property. In light of technological advances, the concept of property has evolved to include not only tangible assets such as land or possessions but also intangible belongings such as ideas, artistic works or information. Social engineering involves the targeting of people through deception and manipulation with the purpose of two main outcomes - direct loss of critical information and the achievement of some action intended by the attacker. As a countermeasure, it can be assumed that stricter technical controls should be a viable solution to social engineering. However, stricter technical controls cannot effectively deal with the issues surrounding human beings, their inherent nature and security. The impact of social engineering attacks vary widely according to the nature of the attack. Big corporations, private industries, businesses, government agencies, as well as individuals are at risk to Information Security breaches. Furthermore, many of these cyber-attacks, data breaches and stolen information are carried out for criminal purpose. This article examines the problem of social engineering by contextualising the modern information security and cybercrime culture, identifying harmful and illicit threats and attacks, as well as evaluating the potential impact and consequences of such attacks.

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