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social engineering (uncountable)

  1. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (sociology) Use of numerical data to inform social programs.
    • 2006, Johnny Sung, Explaining the Economic Success of Singapore, ISBN 1781956316:
      The following discussion will use two examples - namely public housing and the social security scheme, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) - to illustrate the effects of distributing the fruits of economic development via social engineering projects.
    • 2008, David Haney, The Americanization of Social Science, ISBN 1592137156, page 188:
      In 1961, Russell Kirk provided a distillation of these conservative salvos against social engineering in a more public forum. In The New York Times Magazine, the political scientist and regular National Review columnist cited Pitirim Sorkin's call in Fads and Foibles for a balancing of the scientific method with older humanistic modes of inquiry as evidence that mainstream socioloists had become scientistic "true belivers," rejecting "humanitarian" models of inquiry in favor of that which could be measured and tabulated.
    • 2012, S.A. Cropper, ‎Michael C. Jackson, & ‎Paul Keys, Operational Research and the Social Sciences, ISBN 1461307899, page 155:
      In other words, we note that the social engineering model of knowledge utilization research is burdened with the outdated maxim of "technology as applied science". Accepting the possibility of intermediary professions, we get the "real" social engineering model, entailing an independent analytic profession, as an alternative to the enlightenment model with its romantic dichotomy between theory and practice.
    Using social engineering, the new cardinal has efficiently re-arranged the Church's outreach.
  2. (political science) Efforts to influence attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale, in order to produce desired characteristics in a target population.
    "This is Your Brain on Drugs" was a humorous failure at social engineering.
    • 1995, Daniel Berthold-Bond, Hegel's Theory of Madness, ISBN 0791425053, page 179:
      Madness, from this point of view, is not finally a medical phenomenon at all, but a phenomenon of social engineering, manipulation, and coercion, and of the politically motivated labeling of deviant behavior.
    • 1996, Adam Podgórecki, ‎Jon Alexander, ‎Rob Shields, Social Engineering, ISBN 0886292700, page 9:
      From one perspective, much of what goes on in every society's day-to-day operations qualifies as social engineering. One can view child rearing, schooling, military indoctrination and any other means of mobilizing bias as social engineering without doing violence to the concept.
    • 2013, Brian Taylor, No More Suffering Fools, ISBN 130462479X, page 175:
      There are certain types of social engineering that represent possible dangers. For example, you may not be aware that your ideas are being intentionally manipulated and, on another level, the manipulation itself could be dangerous.
  3. (computer security) The practice of tricking a user into giving, or giving access to, sensitive information, thereby bypassing most or all protection.
    After our hacking attempts failed, we tried social engineering, walking into the building and claiming we had to do some urgent work in the server room.
    • 2005, Charles A. Shoniregun, Impacts and Risk Assessment of Technology for Internet Security, ISBN 0387243437, page 157:
      TEISME can teach employees on how to recognise a possible social engineering attack.
    • 2012, Greg Gogolin, Digital Forensics Explained, ISBN 1439874956, page 132:
      To attack your organization, social engineering hackers exploit the credulity, laziness, good manners, or even enthusiasm of your staff.
    • 2014, Robert Shimonski, Cyber Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Defense, ISBN 0128014687, page 85:
      The main reason social engineering takes place is because it is easier to gain access to a trusted source by simply manipulating someone who can give you access instead of breaking in through technological means.