One of the best tools for conducting social engineering attacks is SET which was developed by Dave Kennedy.The social engineering toolkit is already pre-configured to use some default settings in order to make it more easier for its users.However these settings can be altered in order to cover the needs of the scenario that the penetration tester will create.The changes that we can make are endless so in this article we will cover only the basic.

In Backtrack SET is located in the following directory:


So we need to browse to that directory first and then to find the set_config file which is located in the directory called config inside the SET folder.This file contains all the setting that it can be made in the social engineering toolkit.

By default SET is configured to use Gmail as the default email provider for sending emails to other users through SET.If we want to use other providers such as Yahoo and Hotmail we just change the following setting:


One of the most popular web-based attacks that the social engineering toolkit is also using is the Java applet attack.If we try to use this attack we will notice that SET is configured to use Microsoft as the publisher name.If we want to use a different publisher we can change the following setting to ON.


SET will require from us additional information so we will import the information accordingly to the scenario that we have develop.You can see in the next image a sample of the information that we have to provide:

SET – Java Applet Self Signed Certificate


Another one important configuration that we can play with is the AUTO_DETECT option.When this option is set to ON the social engineering toolkit will detect automatically our local IP address and it will use it for the reverse connection of our attacks.If this option is set to OFF,the social engineering toolkit will ask for our public IP address.This can be used in a scenario that we are behind NAT and we want to use SET over the Internet.


SET asks for public IP when AUTO_DETECT option is OFF


Also the web-based attack vectors like the credential harvester can be used in combination with email phishing in order to improve the success rate of the attack.The option that we have to configure is the following:


Email support in combination with credential harvester attack


As we can see and from the image above SET will include as well in the attack and the email support in order to be able to send email directly to users after the launch of the attack.


Social engineering toolkit provides a variety of options in his configuration file which can be altered in order to meet our needs.However in this article we saw only some of the basic configurations that we can do to change the behavior of SET and to make it work more efficiently.


  1. Nice post. Thought you might be interested in one of our webshows about Social Engineering. The show is slightly more to the actual “human side” of Social Engineering.

    Title is: “Go With the Flow: Strategies For Successful Social Engineering” with Chris Silvers. Chris has spoken at DefCon, Hacker Halted, Black Hat etc all about Social Engineering.

    He has some recorded examples of him and his team making phone calls to solicit sensitive info – pretty interesting and very cool:

    Happy New Year 2013.

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