Social Engineering your way to freedom

Social Engineering your way to freedom

 

  • Objective 1: Defeat their expectations.
    • Keys to remember: The purpose of security is to secure. This means buildings, and it means people. Making people feel secure is part of the security mandate.
    • How: Be pleased to see them. Be friendly. Hold your ground and wait for them to arrive, and greet them. Make them feel that they’re making you feel safer by being there. Get your ID out and be ready to give it to them when they arrive. People doing something wrong do not produce ID without being asked (make it look like this is just one of those annoying but incredibly normal parts of the day, like producing a student card to get a book from a library)
    • Why: They’re rarely expecting people they’ve called to halt to be pleased to see them, and certainly not expecting people to willingly offer ID up. This throws them off their game. Last few times I’ve done the ID trick, they’ve given the documents a cursory glance and handed them back without noting anything down. Mileage will vary though.
  • Objective 2: Build their trust and support
    • Keys: Remember, you’re exploring for free and they, they’re paid to stop your exploration. Let them do their jobs, and make it easier for them to appreciate that they’ve just found an ally, not an enemy.
    • How: Concede social ground. If they’re at the bottom of the steps, walk down to them slowly (with hands visible. They’re already spooked, and it’s your job to settle them down so you get to walk away). Ensure they have the higher ground on a hill. Give them the perception of power in the encounter.
    • Why: Once the encounter is underway, you’ll be pumped, they’ll be pumped, and they have the authority on their sides. Defusing the situation is the priority, so their heart rates slow, they’re thinking with their checklists and paperwork in mind, and not reacting on instinct. Bring the encounter under your control, and limit the tension.
  • Objective 3: Build the rapport
    • Keys: Understand that they’re doing their jobs. Work to the expectations that come with the pay cheque, and remember that their jobs are a long string of boredom punctuated with interesting bits. Currently, you’re playing the part of the interesting bit of their jobs. Make yourself boring, and boring quickly.
    • How: Confide in them that you’re really pleased to see them since this place is quite scary when you’re wandering around lost. Improvise. Talk to them, listen for the social cues, cop the earbashing etc
    • Why: Demonstrate that you understand that they’re doing their jobs, and that if there is a problem, it’s the fault of “the man” or “the administration”.

If things are going well…

  • Objective 4: Swap confrontational for curious
    • Keys: Start trying to convert from confrontation to conflict resolution if you can (and if you can’t, damage limit)
    • How: Apologise. If you’re confident you are in the right, get your ID out and ask if there’s a way to get clearance. Ask questions. Listen to the answers and ask more questions. Get them talking to you rather than wanting to hit you.
    • Why: You’re the interesting thing for them right now in a long boring shift. Be interesting in a different way by getting them to talk about themselves, the rules, the managerial structure, anything but asking you what you were doing.
  • Objective 5: Get them talking about themselves buy in on your “project”.
    • Keys: Like any good relationship, the opposite partner is much more interested in themselves than they are in you.
    • How: Let security talk about themselves for a bit, and be a good listener.
      • Ask questions about who they think you should speak to about getting the appropriate clearance.
      • Ask for the details of who you should be speaking to about official clearance
        • Don’t ask for the guard’s names and id numbers, and if they’re wearing ID badges, don’t write down those details when they are speaking to you. That’s usually a sign you plan on complaining, and it will escalate hostility.
        • If they are being jerks, memorize the names, then write them down after the incident, because if they’re going to give you grief, with their names and ID numbers in full view, your notepad won’t deter them. If the situation is hostile, forget the documentation.
      • Ask, nod, take notes, and make it clear that this was a terrible mistake on your behalf, but if they could be so kind as to point you in the right direction, so you won’t waste their time in future etc. Make it about them, and how they can help you avoiding causing them problems.
    • Why: Shifting the social dynamic from security as enforcer to security as educator defuses the hostility, boosts their sense that you’re genuine about being an accidental tourist, gets them to show off their knowledge, and indicates (rightly or wrongly) that anyone asking how do I get to do this so I don’t mess up your day? is a decent sort of person, and not the type to be doing wrong. Plus, you might actually be able to get official clearance, and security sanction (or even security escort. They tend to know the cool places to explore as well). It’s social engineering under pressure, and if you can convert the security team from hostiles to allies, then there’s a good chance you’ll get off with a warning or some helpful advice.
  • Objective 6: Leave on good terms
    • Keys: Close the sale. You’ve gone from being a problem to being interesting to be a friend. Now close the sale with the GTFO Of Dodge move.
    • How: At the end of the encounter, when they’ve said their piece and you’ve said yours, and assuming you’re about to be free to move off, shake hands with the security guys. Thank them sincerely.
    • Why: They’re so used to hostility and hassle, that the pleasantry and friendliness often distracts them entirely from calling in the report. If they wander back to the office remarking on how unusual it was that they weren’t given grief, by the time it gets to writing up the incident report, they’ll hopefully skip on the paperwork, details and just stick with the surprise at the warm fuzzy feeling.
  • Objective 7: GTFO
    • Once you can leave, get out as fast and direct as possible. None of the above works twice in the same encounter. If you can wrangle it, ask for help to get out of the area (ie, volunteer for a security escort off the property. Shows you were lost, and also lengthens the time you have to befriend them, plus, lengthens the time between them encountering you, and getting back to put a report together).
  • Note: If things are going sour:
    • Objective 4: Take the low moral ground
      • Keys: Avoid escalating the confrontation if you can. Someday, you’re not going to get anywhere even with good behaviour. If things are going wrong, and there’s aggro, shutting up and letting people vent isn’t pleasant, but when you’re low on options, it’s always an option.
      • How: Apologise repeatedly, drop the body language to defeated, sink the chest and roll the shoulder forward. I don’t know if crying helps, but nodding, shutting up and responding with sir often works on people doing the vent-for-ego boost routines.
      • Why: You’re the target. At this point, you are in a hostile and bad place, and the options are so limited that being a worthless target is about the only way to get this scenario moved from “worse” to “bad”. You’ll be unlikely to make it out to good, so work for the position where security feels they’vehad their own way by verbally beating down on you. If it turns to physical, switch gears and run like hell. No advice on talking will stop the effect of a taser, beating or other violence.
    • Objective 5: Leaving on bad terms
      • Keys: Close the sale by appealing to their authority position. You are currently a problem to be solved, so suggest the solution of being escorted to the boundary of the property.
      • How: Ask for an escort off the property. Apologise, and apologise again for wasting their time with the escort, but make it as clear as you can convey that you don’t know where you are in relation to the outside/exit/property, and they clearly are smarter because they do known, and could they just see to it that you’re off the property without any more trouble?
      • Why: Give the security a sense of superiority, and an overt opportunity to display how much better they are than you, since you’re lost and they know the way. It’s an ego boost that few people recognise consciously, and it might just buy enough social space to get away from the currently vad scenario.
    • Objective 6: GTFO
      • Once you can leave, get out as fast and direct as possible.
      • Apologise, and ask for help leaving (ie, try to negotiate for a security escort to public property)
      • Shut up or apologise. Nothing else will help beyond being meek and being ready to fake a capitulation to their superiority. Let them have the points, the ego, the earbashing and the last word. You want away from the zone with your liberty intact (You can repair your ego once you’re off the property. Blog about them in a mean way or something)
      • Lengthens the time between them escorting you off the property and getting back to put the paperwork together.

Operation #TrebuchetList now in order…