Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Is Elicitation?

Posted by OurTech Team | Thursday, July 21, 2011 | Category: , , , , |

Elicitation means to bring or draw out, or to arrive at a conclusion (truth, for instance) by logic.
Alternatively, it is defined as a stimulation that calls up (or draws forth) a particular class of behaviors, as
in “the elicitation of his testimony was not easy.”
Read that definition again and if it doesn’t give you goose bumps you may have a problem. Think
about what this means. Being able to effectively use elicitation means you can fashion questions that draw
people out and stimulate them to take a path of a behavior you want. As a social engineer, what does this
mean? Being effective at elicitation means you can fashion your words and your questions in such a way
that it will enhance your skill level to a whole new level. In terms of information gathering, expert
elicitation can translate into you target wanting to answer your every request.
I want to take this discussion one step further because many governments educate and warn their
employees against elicitation because it is used by spies all over the earth.
In training materials, the National Security Agency of the United States government defines elicitation
as “the subtle extraction of information during an apparently normal and innocent conversation.”
These conversations can occur anywhere that the target is—a restaurant, the gym, a daycare—
anywhere. Elicitation works well because it is low risk and often very hard to detect. Most of the time,
the targets don’t ever know where the information leak came from. Even if a suspicion exists that there is
some wrong intent, one can easily pass it off as an angry stranger being accused of wrong doing for just
asking a question.
Elicitation works so well for several reasons:

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