Date of Award

Winter 1-15-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Stephen Hilkowitz


Social engineering is the use of trickery, deception, persuasion, emotional manipulation, impersonation, and abuse of trust to gain information or access through the use of a human interface (Thompson, 2006). Social engineering relies on the human behavior in order to gain information or access. The technique of social engineering can be performed in numerous ways and has been proven to be an effective way for perpetrators to obtain valuable information.

This capstone project, I will focus on social engineering of call centers and the steps organizations can take to reduce it. For most organizations, the call centers or customer support are there to provide assistance to others in a friendly and polite manner. They also have access to a great deal of information available to them which makes them an easy target for social engineers. Call centers are also the weakest link within an organization as they have few defenses in place. Attackers are usually armed with information that they have obtained from other means about the person they are impersonating. With the growing number of security breaches involving personally identifiable information, attackers have more information available to use at their disposal. For these reasons, when attackers call in to these centers, they are usually able to answer the necessary authentication questions and are able to gain access to the desired information.