Social Engineering

Posted on July 27, 2023July 27, 2023

Social engineering is defined as “a manipulation technique that exploits human error to gain private information, access, or valuables. In cybercrime, these “human hacking” scams tend to lure unsuspecting users into exposing data, spreading malware infections, or giving access to restricted systems. Attacks can happen online, in-person, and via other interactions.” A more thorough definition can be found here. I’m not sure if we have hit peak social engineering yet but we are definitely headed in that direction.

Especially with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), people can be so easily hacked, swayed, and manipulated that it is/will be difficult to tell what is real. I am particularly concerned about what election season will look like. Here’s some ways to become more aware of, and thus more resistant to, social engineering attacks:

  1. Read the fine print. This AI generated social influencer says right on her social media platforms that she is AI-generated yet people still believe she is real.
  2. Search “sneak in” on YouTube. Some of their social engineering tactics are quite impressive. This guy pretty much takes the cake for social engineering tactics taken to extremes.
  3. Here are several ways to avoid social engineering attacks: examples here, here, here, and here.
  4. Learn about ways that social media is used to manipulate you (or just avoid social media all together). Part 1 Part 2
  5. Realize that AI will allow social engineering attacks to escalate exponentially (examples here and here).
  6. Just as in the real world, situational awareness should be key. Don’t give out personal information and don’t react emotionally to a situation (use logic and suspicion about any unusual situation). You could even play with the trolls if you want to, examples here and here.
  7. If you run into an unusual situation, try Googling the details. Chances are there will be several (in many cases several hundred) pages of information pointing out that it is a common scam.

How Not To Die in the Desert

Posted on July 22, 2023July 22, 2023

You would think it would be common sense that when it is 100+ degrees outside, you would make every effort to stay inside. Unfortunately you have people like this who think that if it is 128 degrees outside, they should go check it out. Obviously not the smartest thing to do. Anyway, here is how to stay safe in high heat:

  • Don’t hike/run/exercise or otherwise exert yourself outside when the temps get too high (generally about 80+ degrees for most people). Examples here, here, and here.
  • Similarly, if you must travel during periods of high heat, make sure your vehicle is in excellent working order. Example here.
  • If you must be out and about, try to do your walking/errands/travel in the early morning or late evening when the temps are cooler.
  • Do not head out to the middle of the desert (anytime) without a good map, GPS device, compass, and other navigation aids. It is very easy to get turned around in the barren desert and often times in remote areas, your cell phone won’t work.
  • If you make it a habit to travel in remote areas, carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) with you. At least it will provide a way for rescuers to find you should you become lost or injured.
  • Obviously, never leave anything perishable in your vehicle when it is hot (kids, animals, plants, chocolate, etc). You can replace the plants and chocolate but you can’t replace your kids or pets so leave a sticky note on your dash as a reminder to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle.
  • If you do get lost in the desert, stay with your vehicle. It is easier for searchers to find a vehicle in the desert than a lone person walking down the road. Note that you may not want to stay IN your vehicle as it will feel like and oven but you can always make a quick shelter next to it to hide from the sun.
  • Before you head out on a desert road trip, leave your itinerary with a trusted person who will start the search for you if you don’t arrive back when you planned to.
  • Always carry emergency gear in your vehicle when traveling: more water than you think you will need, clothing, shelter, etc.
  • And if you will be walking, do the same; carry more water than you think you will need, a tarp for emergency shelter, an umbrella or sun hat, wear a long-sleeved sun shirt and pants, good walking shoes, sun screen, sunglasses, etc.
  • Pay attention to hydration, before, during, and after your excursion. Drink plenty of water before you leave, drink regularly while you are out and about, and continue to hydrate yourself after your return. Especially for people not acclimated to the desert, the sudden high heat and low humidity not only zaps your strength but zaps your water reserves too. Note that you may want to intersperse water and electrolyte drinks (Gatoraid, Pedialyte, electrolyte tabs added to water) to replace electrolytes lost through sweating.
  • Note that hydrating excludes drinking alcohol or caffeine which tend to make you more dehydrated.
  • Carry a cooler full of ice in your vehicle. With ice water you can drink it to cool your core, dip your shirt or a towel in it to place on your body to cool off, and have a way to keep any food at a safe, cool temperature. Us folks who live in the desert regularly carry a cooler with ice to put our groceries in during the summer when we are out doing errands.
  • Know how to recognize the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to change plans. If the weather suddenly turns hot, skip the hike and opt for indoor activities until cooler weather returns.


Posted on July 22, 2023July 22, 2023

Welcome to the new Code Name Insight website and blog. After (several) years of having the website then migrating to the more streamlined (at least for posting) Blogger platform, we are back at to a stand-alone website. The funny thing is, when you use Google services (such as Blogger), you get Google censorship. Several posts on the Blogger platform were inexplicably deleted (complete with a note saying they were delisted from the blog but no reason why and no way to appeal their decision). So here we go with an all new site, which, you will notice for a while, will be under a state of construction for a bit, until my assistant has a chance to move everything over here.