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Six Degrees of Social InfluenceScience, Application, and the Psychology of Robert Cialdini$
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Douglas T. Kenrick, Noah J. Goldstein, and Sanford L. Braver

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199743056

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199743056.001.0001

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The Path of Least Resistance

The Path of Least Resistance

(p.27) Chapter 3 The Path of Least Resistance
Six Degrees of Social Influence

Brad J. Sagarin

Kevin D. Mitnick

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how “social engineering” can be used in computer hacking to gain access to highly secret computer codes and other confidential information, and how to defend yourself against such influence-based attacks. Drawing on Robert Cialdini's principles of influence, the chapter explores the concept of resistance to unwanted persuasion by describing Motorola's experience with a social engineering attack from the perspective of the perpetrator. It also considers the points of vulnerability exploited by the attack and the methods by which individuals and organizations can protect themselves against such attacks and thus avoid the path of least resistance.

Keywords:   resistance, persuasion, social engineering, computer hacking, computer codes, confidential information, Robert Cialdini, influence, Motorola, least resistance

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