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As interconnectivity across the globe increases, so do the amount of people sharing information in real time. While this has clear benefits in bringing people together, it also constitutes a growing security threat where trivial social media posts reveal more and more information.

In reality, it is no longer enough to rely solely on having the highest fence around a house or the loudest alarm with the fastest incident response to manage security threats. The reason: a significant portion of threats have swiftly shifted to the digital domain and become more nuanced and complex than ever. This threat is also heightened by the increasing importance of maintaining a reputable presence online.

Brand reputation relies increasingly on the reputation of ambassadors closely associated with the brand. Individuals in these positions are also likely to be executives and/or high net worth individuals. As public opinion of them directly impacts the extent to which a brand is accepted, they are more likely to do what it takes to remain discrete or control what information is shared about them. For this very reason cyber criminals and opportunists may take advantage of their vulnerability by specifically targeting such individuals online.

While it may not be clear to their family members, particularly younger ones, why so much caution should be applied when sharing information online, there are some real tangible threats that could leave the whole family exposed. Although less sophisticated criminals may only engage in just a casual perusal online to acquire valuable information to be leveraged, a more sophisticated black hat hacker is highly likely to be able to quickly identify potentially less discrete family members, close ones, and as such harmful information. Such information may include which schools are the children enrolled at, where their spouse goes for a morning jog, how frequently they travel abroad and whether they own homes at multiple locations. This despite the targets themselves maintaining a discrete online presence.

As small snippets of information come together, criminals will quickly create real tangible intel to act on. This can then be used to plan for a wide range of crimes, from virtual kidnapping to burglary from doxing to mugging. Children can become victims of cyber harassment and groomed to reveal even more sensitive information that can later be used against the family.

All these crimes are financially motivated but can have far reaching consequences, including posing a real physical threat and significant reputational damage.

How we can help:

Carrying out a simple online profile can map out where vulnerabilities may lie and how to better protect clients. Our partners, NYA provide threat and vulnerability assessments for individuals and families. The assessments evaluate risks and ‘pattern of life’, identifying any vulnerabilities in security and recommending effective counter measures for the better protection.

NYA’s service and 24/7 analyst team continuously monitor traditional media, social media using surface, deep and dark web sources to monitor for mentions of our clients and/or stolen data. After notifying them within minutes of a discovery (or in accordance with pre-agreed protocols), advisors can work to respond effectively.

Contact us for more information.