A Structured Comparison of Social Engineering Intelligence Gathering Tools

  • Kristian BeckersEmail author
  • Daniel Schosser
  • Sebastian Pape
  • Peter Schaab
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10442)


Social engineering is the clever manipulation of the human tendency to trust to acquire information assets. While technical security of most critical systems is high, the systems remain vulnerable to attacks from social engineers. Traditional penetration testing approaches often focus on vulnerabilities in network or software systems. Few approaches even consider the exploitation of humans via social engineering. While the amount of social engineering attacks and the damage they cause rise every year, the defences against social engineering do not evolve accordingly. However, tools exist for social engineering intelligence gathering, which means the gathering of information about possible victims that can be used in an attack. We survey these tools and present an overview of their capabilities. We concluded that attackers have a wide range of intelligence gathering tools at their disposal, which increases the likelihood of future attacks and allows even non-technical skilled users to apply these tools.


Social engineering Threat analysis Security awareness Security tools 



This research has been partially supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research Germany (BMBF) with project grant number 16KIS0240.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristian Beckers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Schosser
    • 1
  • Sebastian Pape
    • 2
  • Peter Schaab
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of InformaticsTechnische Universität München (TUM)GarchingGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and Business AdministrationGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurtGermany

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