Term applied to a wide range of techniques for causing a desired change in behavior or gaining some advantage by psychological manipulation of an individual or group. As used in security it almost invariably involves some form of deception, malice or fraud. Social engineering is a way of gaining personal information by deception. Various social engineering techniques exist, commonly making use of the telephone or the Internet, and exploiting the gullibility by masquerading as a trustworthy business or institution.
The specific goals of the social engineering can be, for example, to gain personal information or to persuade end-users to execute malware.