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The Ingenious Ways Hackers Exploit Us

By: Jeremy Berger, Ask Men

Hackers had a big year in 2011. A phone hacker gave us naked pictures of Scarlett Johansson. News Of The World gave us shame. The "hacktivist" group Anonymous gave us the personal information of a police officer who pepper sprayed non-violent protestors at UC Davis. RSA Security was hacked, probably by a foreign government. My girlfriend looked at my text messages.

The funny thing about all of this hacking is that even as the malware taking control of machines becomes more complex, the way scammers deliver it doesn't require much technological expertise at all -- only a little charisma and an understanding of psychology. It's called social engineering, and, for an example, look no further than Facebook, where users who are looking for a way to deactivate the Timeline feature on their profiles (which isn't possible) are being duped into "liking" an app that ultimately gives spammers access to their profiles.

To find out why the old tricks still work, we consulted a panel of tech experts:

-Kevin Mitnick, author of The New York Times bestseller Ghost In The Wires, and at one time the most wanted computer criminal in the United States.

-Kevin Mahaffey, founder and CTO of Lookout Mobile Security.

-Tim Armstrong, malware researcher at Kaspersky Lab, a Russian internet security firm.