The art of human hacking

Despite the negative headlines we occasionally hear coming on the topic of social media, I believe the one thing it has done an amazing job of is helping us feel more connected. Sure, we have fans, connections and friends via these pages we may never meet in person, but to me, it doesn’t make the connection any less real.

Social media has also changed the way we see things, and because we feel safe behind the glass of our laptop, tablet and mobile phone screens, we tend to feel more free in our sharing. I’m as guilty of this as anyone especially when I’m on vacation or at a family gathering.

  • How many times have you shared a photo you took with your phone just a few seconds after you’ve taken it? Did you tag others and your location with that photo?
  • What about your personal and professional social media profiles? Who can see your information including what you share in the form of posts and updates?

Are you aware of who you’re connected to, who they’re connected to and what could potentially happen to your information housed in your social media spaces if it fell into the wrong hands? If you haven’t, I encourage you to start by taking this lollipop (you will need to login using your Facebook credentials to get the full affect). Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Sadly, it’s not just social media we need to be cyber aware of. Emails from the Nigerian Prince wanting to give you sums of money are dying out but giving rise to alternative versions like romance scams, tech support scams and even email or instant messages from what seems like contacts you know. Lost USBs you find and try to use and even phone calls from seemingly reputable entities are looking to gain your trust and take away your finances, personal information and identity.

Join me on Friday, May 5, where Michael Rattenne’ and I will dive into social engineering and take you from paranoia to well-equipped:

  • What is social engineering and phishing, and how does it happen?
  • In what forms does it manifest itself?
  • Hear real stories and see firsthand how it happens
  • Learn what you can do that day to help defend yourself, your company and your family

Remember, it’s not if you will get phished or social engineered – it’s when. But if you know the signs beforehand, you’re in a better position to avoid taking the bait.


About the author:
Marc Vasquez, APR, is the Security Awareness Program Manager for UMB Financial Corporation. He possesses nearly 20 years of both agency and corporate public relations and social media experience. Marc is also the technology chair for the Social Media Club of Kansas City, a member of the Social Media Club global board and the International Association of Security Awareness Professionals board secretary. He holds the Accreditation in Public Relations credential which has been established as a way to recognize public relations practitioners. By night he is the gaming sidekick to his 9-year-old son @StuffJakobSays. You can generally find Marc via @vasquez007 or on LinkedIn.

About Marc Vasquez

When not handling club communications, Marc is the Interactive Marketing Manager for UMB Financial Corporation where he puts his more than 16 years of agency and corporate public relations and social media experience to good use in leading the banks enterprise social media and email marketing efforts. Marc is also a past president of the Public Relations Society of America, Greater Kansas City chapter. In addition to his APR (Accreditation in Public Relations), Marc is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University, and by night is the sidekick Robin to his superhero now 9-year-old son who believes himself to be Batman. Keep an eye out at the next event, you may just see him in his Batmobile.