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Kevin Mitnic: How Authority Influences our Behavior

Kevin Mitnic, one of the most famous hackers ever, says in his memoir The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security:

People in law enforcement, like people in the military, have ingrained in them from the first day in the academy a respect for rank. As long as the social engineer is posing as a sergeant or lieutenant—a higher rank than the person he’s talking to—the victim will be governed by that well-learned lesson that says you don’t question people who are in a position of authority over you. Rank, in other words, has its privileges, in particular the privilege of not being challenged by people of lower rank