Travel Documents 04: Hacking Humans

Hacking Humans

the cyberwire
Genre: contemporary non-fiction, podcast

Link To Podcast

The Dust Cover Copy

Each week the CyberWire’s Hacking Humans Podcast looks behind the social engineering scams, phishing schemes, and criminal exploits that are making headlines and taking a heavy toll on organizations around the world. We talk to social engineering experts, security pros, cognitive scientists, and those practiced in the arts of deception (perhaps even a magician or two). We also hear from people targeted by social engineering attacks and learn from their experiences.

The Deets

The Scene

Podcast Setting And Staging

With engaging hosts, good sound production and a good sense of when and how much to use sound effects, Hacking Humans is a fun listen and a nice way to stay in the loop. Whether you’re a hacker or, like me, a curious layman with an interest in understanding the tech world, you’re in the right place. Each episode tells between one and four stories of hacking, with explanations of why the tricks worked and why they failed. They end each episode with a ‘catch of the day’ segment detailing something that a listener has caught and sent in as a scam.

I use it as a way to get story ideas in an interesting way, and a programming guy I know uses it to teach his new programmers and IT guys in an entertaining manner. The hosts keep the stories relatable and transparent for the wider audience while giving useful information for the pros. My one complaint is the amount of time given over to promoting their sponsors. It’s done tastefully, but when you’re podcast bingeing it gets old fast.

The Crowd


 Dave Bittner, Joe Carrigan and Michael Murray are knowledgeable, full of information, and skilled in their trade. But they are also great teachers who stress again and again that anyone can be tricked or hacked given the right circumstances. Finding IT guys who will stress that it’s your education that needs work and not your IQ level is like finding a unicorn. These guys are worth their weight in gold. Oh, and they’re funny too. Listening to them is like being in a room with friendly uncles who’re showing you the ropes.

The Moves

Podcast Pacing And Story Choice

 Covering human psychology and the great tech heists from around the world, the podcast intersperses its coverage nicely with routine hacks and all the things you should watch out for on a daily basis. Stressing again and again that the humans are the easiest part of a system to hack, the hosts bring in everyone from IT guys and penetration testers to magicians (I kid you not, a stage magician) as guests to teach us how to change our thinking and protect ourselves in the computer age.

The Vibe

Overall Rating

Definitely one to add to your playlist. A lot of fun and an education.