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Quality and Usability Lab2015_01_12_uebelacker

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The Social Engineering Personality Framework

LOCATION: Auditorium 1, TEL 20, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 20th floor

Date/Time: 12.01.2015, 14:15-15:00

SPEAKER: Sven Übelacker (TU Hamburg-Harburg)

SLIDES: The Social Engineering Personality Framework


We explore ICT security in a socio-technical world and focus in particular on the susceptibility to social engineering attacks which we approach by adapting Cialdini's Six Principles of Persuasion. We pursue the question if and how personality traits influence this susceptibility. This allows us to research human factors and their potential impact on the physical and digital security domains.

A comprehensive literature review reveals that individual values of a victim’s personality traits relate to social engineering susceptibility in general. Furthermore, we construct suggestions for plausible relations between personality traits of the Five-Factor Model (Big 5) and the principles of influence. Based on these arguments, we propose our "Social Engineering Personality Framework" (SEPF). It supports and guides security researchers in developing holistic detection, mitigation, and prevention strategies while dealing with human factors.

In this talk we will present the latest developments as well as the status of gathering empiric data via scenario-based questionnaires.


Sven Übelacker studied mathematical economics (Dipl-Math.oec.) at the Universities of Hildesheim and Ulm with a focus on computer and actuarial science. After working at computer centers of the University of Applied Science in Munich and later of the Hamburg University of Technology in the area of computer security, he started at DFN-CERT, a company assuring the security of Germany's national research and education network DFN. In 2013 he came back to the Hamburg University of Technology in order to contribute to the EU FP7 research project TREsPASS which focuses on socio-technical security.


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