De Falsis Deis: Social Contracts

Short Form


Social engineering; it's a little more common and complicated than you might think. Wherever people live and work together, a social contract is formed. First theorized by Socrates and further expanded by Tom Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, this system is so fundamental most people take part in it unwittingly. Social hackers can use this to their advantage - and by breaking the social contract, we are all left vulnerable to attack. In this talk I will discuss how social contracts develop and how hackers use this natural human behavior against their targets.


This talk is a deeper dive on the underlying social mechanisms and cognitive biases exploited by social hackers. Looking at how society has developed to allow such manipulation is the key to finding a way for society to readjust in order to make these attacks less likely to be successful. This will also allow the audience an insight into the security thought process to enable better consideration of security concerns regarding their own work.

Speaking experience

I have spoken at 10 conferences in the last two years. Further information, including video, is available at This talk was previously delivered at BSides Salt Lake City 2017


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    Tibbs recently graduated from the University of West of Scotland with a degree in computer security. She has relocated to Portland, OR, where she evangelizes for privacy and security while contracting as an open source Security Evaluation Engineer at Intel. She is passionate about encouraging small children to take the plunge into STEM and about laughing at cats on the internet.