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Midwestern Nice - Stereotype or Enterprise Threat? - Valerie Thomas BSides Columbus Ohio 2017 (Hacking Illustrated Series InfoSec Tutorial Videos)

Midwestern Nice - Stereotype or Enterprise Threat?
Valerie Thomas
BSides Columbus Ohio 2017

Technology will continue to advance, but the greatest vulnerability will always exist in the human behind the keyboard. A successful social engineering attack begins with understanding the target environment, especially the people. How is this different in the Midwest? Some claim that Midwestern Nice is the restraint of speaking ill against someone, even if they should be ill-spoken of. Others define Midwestern Nice as being non-assertive about issues or concerns. Both definitions are music to a Social Engineer's ears. In this presentation, I will be discussing real-world social engineering attacks and how personalities led to the target's ultimate downfall.

Valerie Thomas is an Executive Information Security Consultant for Securicon LLC that specializes in social engineering and physical penetration testing. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering, Valerie led information security assessments for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) before joining private industry. Her unique Defense and civilian background provides her with a solid understanding of intrusion detection, data loss prevention, and endpoint (in)security. Her electronic and RFID training became a crucial element of her physical security specialization. While some choose to focus on cyber of physical security, she has chosen to exploit the weaknesses of the combination of the two. Valerie is the coauthor of “Building an Information Security Awareness Program: Defending Against Social Engineering and Technical Threats” with Bill Gardner. Throughout her career, Valerie has conducted penetration tests, vulnerability assessments, compliance audits, and technical security training for executives, developers, and other security professionals. She has provided briefings and workshops for DEFCON, Derbycon, Blackhat, and multiple BSides events.


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