If you haven’t been watching Mr. Robot, you should. The season just ended and it’s a perfect time to catch up, not only because it’s like the best new show on television, but it can teach you a few things about how hackers and social engineers think and keep you more security aware.

People have become so wrapped up in social media and material possessions that they have lost themselves, and Elliot, who doesn’t care about any of those things, has been sent to shake things up. I just love him for all of his awkwardness and honesty in the midst of a world full of “pretenders”. Just your average IT Techie by day, Elliott transforms into a criminal hacker mastermind at night. Exposing people for who they really are has become somewhat of a hobby for him and no bribe can convince him to stop his mission to bring people’s dirtiest deeds and darkest secrets to light.

I don't give

With the help of the hacker group, FSociety, Elliott takes down an entire corporation, which is no simple feat. Let’s take a look at some of the ways they manage to weasel their way into the company system and how they can affect us in real life.

Let’s look at the top 3 life lessons we can learn from Mr. Robot.


Never plug anything into your computer if you do not know what it is or where it came from.

Road Apple

In an attempt to hack into a prison’s system and remotely disable prison cell doors, Darlene, another member of FSociety, scatters dozens of Road Apples (infected USB sticks) throughout the parking lot, in hopes that someone will pick them up and plug them in out of curiosity. A prison security guard, out of all people (EEK!), takes the bait, which goes to show no one is immune to a Social Engineering attack. Don’t be the weakest link!

Don’t allow tailgating, and never let a stranger walk alone around the building.

Tailgating

Elliot is able to get his foot in the door on the false pretense that he would like a tour of the building. Seems innocent enough, right? Wrong! Always keep your guard up regardless of who someone is or what their supposed intention may be. When the employee conducting his tour walks away for a moment, Elliot is able to slip away, roam freely around the building and gain access to their network. If someone unfamiliar is unattended, or there is anyone suspicious walking around, report it.

Stop sharing every detail of your life on Social Media.

social media

By doing some investigating on Facebook, FSociety is able to find out the full name and job title of the person with whom they need to speak for their Pretexting scam. In addition, Elliot is constantly utilizing information he finds readily available on social media sites in order to hack people. Share as little about yourself online as possible, and definitely don’t share any of your company’s information. Pretend like it is 1999. Call your friend on the phone or go over to their house to show them a photo album with your latest vacation pictures.


Surprisingly enough, all of the above methods used by hackers are non-technical. Anybody can trick you, regardless of whether or not they are tech savvy. Use common sense, and be security aware!

Tyler Balding

Lead e-Learning Developer at SAC
Tyler spends her days finding fresh, fun ways to teach age-old security concepts, making all of SAC's e-learning modules visually stimulating. She spends her free time traveling and perfecting her wine-tasting skills, and steals the boss’s dog on weekends.