social engineering


Definition of social engineering

: management of human beings in accordance with their place and function in society : applied social science

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Other Words from social engineering

social engineer noun

Examples of social engineering in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This type of ‘hack’ generally known as social engineering relies on con artistry rather than code. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "How hackers are exploiting the coronavirus – and how to protect yourself," 18 Mar. 2020 But passwords are easily compromised through a phishing scam or malware, data breach or some simple social engineering. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Dear passwords: Forget you. Here's what is going to protect us instead," 28 Feb. 2020 Cybercrooks are engaging in social engineering to make some emails seem more legitimate. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Latest tax scam holds your info for ransom. Here's how to spot it and other fraud," 22 Jan. 2020 For all that realism, though, Marrs pins his plot on a government eager to do some social engineering. Alex Davies, WIRED, "A Novelist Takes Self-Driving to Its Illogical Conclusion," 27 Aug. 2019 Given the long-standing American hostility to social engineering, each of these steps faced heavy pushback. K.n.c., The Economist, "Open Future We can harness peer pressure to uphold social values," 7 Feb. 2020 In this case bigotry, social engineering, a real-life tragedy and the politics of black women's hair are just some of the subjects showcased in the films. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Ranking and reviewing the 2020 Oscar-nominated live-action and animated short films," 30 Jan. 2020 Hackers may use what's known as social engineering to try and obtain or compromise information about you, which could then be used to gain access to something such as your bank account. Allen Kim, CNN, "A scam targeting Americans over the phone has resulted in millions of dollars lost to hackers. Don't be the next victim.," 27 Oct. 2019 The Girl Scouts Cyber Challenge will teach scouts cryptography, forensics, social engineering, and general skills when working with cybersecurity., "The cost is $10 for Girl Scouts, or $50 for girls who are not scouts. The fee includes annual membership, a T-shirt, patch, lunch, and program costs. Busing services also are available. For registration and more information, visit," 26 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'social engineering.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of social engineering

1899, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for social engineering

Time Traveler

The first known use of social engineering was in 1899

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Statistics for social engineering

Last Updated

30 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Social engineering.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for social engineering

social engineering


English Language Learners Definition of social engineering

formal : the practice of making laws or using other methods to influence public opinion and solve social problems or improve social conditions

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