Ann an employee is visiting Joe, an employee in the Human Resources Department. While talking to Joe, Ann
notices a spreadsheet open on Joe’s computer that lists the salaries of all employees in her department. Which
of the following forms of social engineering would BEST describe this situation?
Ann was able to see the Spreadsheet on Joe’s computer. This direct observation is known as shoulder surfing.
Shoulder surfing is using direct observation techniques, such as looking over someone’s shoulder, to get
information. Shoulder surfing is an effective way to get information in crowded places because it’s relatively
easy to stand next to someone and watch as they fill out a form, enter a PIN number at an ATM machine, or
use a calling card at a public pay phone. Shoulder surfing can also be done long distance with the aid of
binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices. To prevent shoulder surfing, experts recommend that you shield
paperwork or your keypad from view by using your body or cupping your hand.