80: Chris Hadnagy: The Art of Human Hacking

Chris Hadnagy, aka loganWHD, has been involved with computers and technology for over 14 years. Presently his focus is on the “human” aspect of technology such as social engineering and physical security.

Chris has spent time in providing training in many topics around the globe and also has had many articles published in local, national and international magazines and journals. He is also the lead developer of Social-Engineer.Org as well as the author of the best-selling book, Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking.

He has launched a line of professional social engineering training and pen testing services at Social-Engineer.Com. His goal is to help companies remain secure by educating them on the methods the “bad guys” use.

Favorite Success Quote

“Knowledge is power.” – Francis Bacon

Key Points

1. Understand the Power of Trust, Greed, and Fear 

Whenever unethical members of society try and con steal or “hack” their way into someone else’s life, they have a very simple system that they use.

They first focus on cultivating trust, then they take advantage of our inborn greed, and then they use fear to ensure that we comply with their wishes.

And while you might not be gullible enough to fall for this formula in the form of a malicious email or phone call, think about how it applies to your social life.

Think about this from a business standpoint.

Let’s say that you get involved with someone that you don’t really know.

They develop trust, convince you to like them, and then as soon as they have you in their clutches, they make a seemingly benign suggestion that appeals to your greed.

Maybe they suggest you invest your money in a certain asset, or that you take a certain step that you know is unethical.

You do it because you trust this person.

But then, after they have appealed to your greed, they use this situation scare you into giving them what they want.

Perhaps they convince you that the SEC is coming after your assets and that you need to transfer all of your income into an offshore account with his.

Perhaps he convinces you that if you don’t continue funneling money into a certain asset, the business will collapse.

Whatever the case may be, you need to be aware of how people use this formula so that you can prevent yourself from being cheated.

2. Learn the Power of Influence

If you want to succeed in life and business, you must learn how to leverage the power of influence.

You need to understand what people want and how you can give it to them.

Delve into consumer psychology, understand what makes people want to buy and what drives human behavior.

The better your ability to influence people, the easier and more abundant your life, relationships, and business will be.

However, you must realize that as soon as you start to use your ability to influence others in a negative or deceptive way, it becomes manipulation.

When you lie, tamper with data, and present partial truths to earn followers, make a sale, or land a deal, then you have broken your integrity and dropped down to the same level as the scammers and con artists mentioned above.

Influence is power.

But remember what Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker.

With great power comes great responsibility

3. Success Comes from Passion

Success is impossible without passion.

Without a burning passion, either for what you are doing or the results that it will create in your life, you cannot succeed.

When you bring passion to your work, the gates unlock and the doors will open.

Problems become opportunities, work becomes play, and pain becomes pleasure.

Passion is the great driving force behind all great innovations and successes of our world.

If you are doing something right now and are not passionate.

Then stop.


You are depriving the world of your greatest gifts and abilities when you are not living and acting on your passions.

There is no better or more fulfilling life than to find what you are passionate about and do it until the day you die.

4. Failure is the Greatest Teacher 

Success is great, you can celebrate and rejoice.

But failure is even better.

When you fail you have time to sit back, ponder, and reflect.

Failure is life’s greatest teacher.

She is the master professor and the queen of all understanding.

But you must be willing to listen.

Many people fail over and over and over again but never learn from their mistakes because they are too stuborn.

Do not let this be you.

When you fail (and you will fail) take time to reflect on what you have learned and what lead to your failure.

Then, when your lesson is learned, resume your task and approach it from a new angle.

5. Don’t Try and Change the Past 

We often think that if we could just go back in time and change that one decision that we made, our entire lives would be different.

And that’s true.

They would be different, but different does not mean better.

You need to realize that life happens the way that it does for a reason and you cannot always see that reason until you are looking back on it.

So trust the process, don’t dwell on the past, and accept yourself for who you are right now.

Mistakes and all.

One day, it will all make sense, but until then keep hustling, keep working, and keep improving.

Influential Books

Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman

Influence by Robert Cialdini

Snoop by Sam Gosling

The Science of Fear by Daniel Gardner

It’s Not All About Me by Robin Dreeke


Connect with Chris Hadnagy



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