Cатсн²² (in)sесuяitу / ChrisJohnRiley

Because we're damned if we do, and we're damned if we don't!

[BruCON] Head Hacking – The Magic of Suggestion and Perception

Head Hacking – The Magic of Suggestion and Perception (Dale Pearson)

Language is a strange thing, by listening to this presentation your brain is processing things in a way you may not understand. If we can learn more about this process, then we can use it to improve our social engineering.

How can you get the Jedi powers talked about so much by professional social engineers.

5 different types of social engineer:

  • Type 1: Opportunist
    • Uses physical skills (attractiveness)
    • Some skills, but doesn’t do this everyday
    • Possible first timer
  • Type 2: Natural Confidence
    • Talks the talk
    • Doesn’t always walk the walk
    • Good communicator
    • Comfortable interacting (loves themselves)
    • Lacks experience
  • Type 3: Professional
    • The geek
    • Skilled in InfoSec
    • Regimented processes
    • Knowledgable
    • More Art, Less Science (Not sure why things work)
  • Type 4: Seasoned Pro (i.e the Ninja)
    • Repeatable process
    • Experience
    • Handles confrontation
    • Passionate
    • Think they know everything
  • Type 5: Master manipulator
    • Understands how things work and why
    • Has a game plan
    • Multiple outs
    • Passion and Dedication
    • Tried and tested
    • Constant evolution (new vectors)
    • Creative
    • Cocky

The result of 24 months research is how to work towards becoming a master manipulator.

Best tool for the job: Be mindful, use your mind to think on your feet and understand how to change how people think.

  • Limbic System – Animatistic responses (Fight or Flight)
  • Subconscious – Power House (11,000,000 pieces of information a second)
  • Conscious – Our Reality (16 to 40 pieces of information, based on what we perceive to be a priority)

Get committed

  • Focused
  • Planned Path
  • Persuasion
  • Agreement
  • Choosing the right ear
  • “We stay true to what we say”

Make the leap for the subject, believe what you’re trying to convey. Give off the correct signals. This increases your success rate.

<demo> using language to subtly effect the subconscious decision processing of a subject (in this case the audience).

Neuro-Linguistic Programming

  • Study of Therapy
  • NOT science
  • Art / Process

One of the most important things found is the Rapport. We like others that like us. When two people have good rapport, they often mirror each other.


  • We all have a frame of our existence
  • Changing your frame of reality through ReFraming

What would it take to make it happen… Ask! What would it take to get what I want!

NLP Pattern Examples

  • Redefinition – Change the focus and question
    • It’s not about why you don’t have a badge, it’s about the problems if you don’t get your task done. Who’s going to explain that to the manager!
  • Agreement – Agree on the negative, focus to positive, your idea/requirement
    • Agree that you don’t agree
  • Awareness – Bring attention to something, key words
    • “I don’t have my badge but I need to get _in_”
  • Interruption – Confusion, overflow, derailment
    • Change their process before they start
    • 1-3 second gap to “inject your code” before they get back on track

NLP.. good, but disappointing. NLP practitioners as a group aren’t interested in discussing social engineering.

So what about hypnosis? What if you simply ask for the password?

We always answer at some level, Maybe not verbal, but physical reactions


  • Been around since the 1840’s
  • Based on neuro-hypntosism
  • James Braid (Scottish Surgeon)
  • Focused state of attention
  • Subconscious Communication
  • Art of vagueness and assumptions
  • Rapid induction techniques
    • Can’t get a subject to lay on a bed and be talked to for an hour after all!
  • Stateful inspection
  • Keep it simple

Many different techniques and strategies

Anthony Jacquin – Reality is plastic –> Book about Rapid Induction Techniques

Negative = Positive

Brains don’t do negative too well

“Don’t think about a pink elephant” makes you think of a pink elephant

So try “you don’t have to let me in”

Guardian of the mind

Protects the mind. Can be bypassed by saying a series of true sentences until the brain takes for granted that the things are true.

Buffer Overflows

Inserting unfinished stories until the subject has so many unfinished loops until confusion is caused

Create a YES set by only talking the truth until it’s taken for granted that you’re telling the truth about everything.


  • Pacing and Leading
  • Direct and Indirect
  • Share the experience
  • Perspective of the subject

Alternate Reality

Through hypnosis, you can’t make a person do something they don’t want to do. You can however alter their reality.

  • Alter the scenario
  • Modify the game
  • Truth and Lies
    • Ask a person to lie about everything
    • Repeat asking them to be truthful (slip in your question)

What can you do with hypnosis then?

  • Make people forget
  • Catalepsy (go stiff)
  • Anesthesia
  • Hallucinations
  • Regression / Progression
  • Time distortion
  • Post-hypnotic suggestion


Because if hypnosis doesn’t work, you look like an idiot. Backup plan, an out!

  • Magic
  • Illusion
  • Cold Reading
  • Mind Control
  • Psychological subtleties
  • Telepathy
  • Hypnosis


These things won’t work the same for everybody

  • Visual people
  • Auditory people

Confidence doesn’t really exist, it’s all about controlling fear.

To fail is to learn, because difficult isn’t impossible!


  • Educate
  • Empower
  • Test
  • Communicate
  • Make it personal
  • Don’t be a target
  • Be mindful



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