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Human Hacking: A Force for Good

Cybersecurity professionals know that "hacking" doesn't always refer to an illegal activity carried out by members of clandestine syndicates cruising the Dark Web. Even if you're not in the industry, you've probably heard of life hacks, like "Store natural peanut butter upside down to make it easier to mix in the oil." Life hacks are like insider information, known only to a handful of people, that can make life a little easier.

Chris Hadnagy has created a whole new realm for positive, legal hacking, and it's based on his career as an expert in social engineering and computer hacking. He calls it "human hacking" and believes it can help you build stronger relationships, interact more effectively with others, influence and persuade people, and give your career, your relationships and even your life a big boost.

Chris is the founder and CEO of Social-Engineer, LLC, which provides consulting and training to corporations to help strengthen cybersecurity. They are experts in social engineering, a technique used by cyber-criminals to manipulate computer users into taking actions that expose the user and their company to a wide variety of security risks. Chris also designed “Advanced Practical Social Engineering,” the first hands-on social engineering training course and certification for law enforcement, military, and private sector professionals.

Another of Chris's brainchildren is the Human Hacking Conference, which will be held virtually this year from March 11 to 13, 2021. Some of the conference will revolve around topics in Chris' book, Human Hacking: Win Friends, Influence People, and Leave Them Better Off for Having Met You. In it, Chris applies the art and science of human behavior and psychology to help people reach a deeper understanding of themselves and their interactions with others. That understanding, then, can be translated into positive action for self-improvement.

According to, the conference is an "intensive program to completely upgrade your skills from the inside out. Experience live training and workshops by some of the greatest minds in persuasion, sales, body language, mind reading, storytelling, and more. You’ll be ready for anything- whether you want to improve your close relationships, grow in your career, sell more, lead better, or launch something new."

Presenters include Chris; Ian Rowland, an expert in cold reading known as "The Mind Man;" Joe Navarro, body language expert and former FBI agent; Robin Dreeke, best-selling author and former FBI Special Agent and Chief of the Counterintelligence Behavioral Analysis Program; and others.

Workshop titles include The Art and Science of Conducting Difficult Conversations, Exceptional Behaviors for Exceptional Results, Psycholinguistics and others. In addition, there will be networking sessions and two keynote speeches.

We asked Chris to give us some additional insights about the conference and will share his input in this two-part blog. The first of five questions was, "Tell us about three of the workshops you are particularly looking forward to." Here's what he shared:

  1. "Anne-Maartje Oud’s session about conducting difficult conversations is something that we all need. Difficult conversations are something most people dread, so anything that will help make it easier will be of great benefit."

  2. "Chase Hughes is THE guy when it comes to persuasion and influence. The quiz that “reveals every personal trait of yours that is holding you back from greater influence” will provide attendees with knowledge that’s worth the cost of admission for all three days."

  3. "R Paul Wilson is always amazing to see and, with the increasing prevalence of con artists and scammers these days, learning the tricks of the trade could make all the difference in your ability to defend yourself and your employees."

In part 2 of this blog we'll hear how human hacking differs from other approaches to developing communication and influencing skills, how the conference will deal with the ethical questions around social engineering and human hacking, and more.


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