Information from the Surface, Deep, and Dark Web is a key resource for your security organization. You need OSINT skills within your organization to use this intelligence to identify any specific events, messages, or drivers that might increase your organization’s level of risk in the future. If you are not already familiar with open-source intelligence or if you are not already using OSINT techniques within your organization, here are five key benefits and reasons to consider adding OSINT skills, tools, and techniques to your security arsenal.
1. Protecting your executive team
Executive protection enables VIPs to take risks, travel to more dangerous locations, while still being protected. A risk assessment for each executive equips organizations to make informed decisions and ultimately to respond proactively to change by mitigating threats. But conducting a risk assessment requires investigators with advanced analytical skills.
Your OSINT team analyzes social media, public records, blog posts, and media sources to quickly identify individuals or groups that may have a desire to cause harm to the organization, executives, or their families. The work does not stop with the completion of a risk assessment report. Active listening for possible threats using open-source data while executives are travelling will help you identify emerging risks or threats for ongoing situational awareness.
2. Protecting your facilities and physical assets
Your organization will place a high value on the protection of facilities, operational assets, and tangible assets from physical actions and events that could endanger employees and disrupt business operations. Your OSINT team is responsible for identifying and investigating indicators of possible threats on social media, blog posts, media sources, and even hidden places on the Internet like the Dark Web.
Detecting threats to your facilities and physical assets provides situational awareness to help your team respond to threats and incidents in your facilities, giving them real-time intelligence to help keep your interests and employees safe.
3. Responding to security incidents and crisis
During times of crisis, without eyes and ears on the ground, those responsible for coordinating the response place themselves and the public in a vulnerable position by making decisions without the right intelligence. Your OSINT team is responsible for using open-source intelligence to help your organization respond to unexpected events that could cause harm to the organization and employees. Situational awareness during a crisis, active listening to Internet chatter related to a crisis, sharing intelligence with security teams, are all key roles your OSINT team plays.
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4. Getting early warning when data is leaked
Your organization and information security teams are tasked with ensuring information is protected. You need to know if any information is exposed and where it may be exposed. Open-source intelligence helps accelerate your ability to validate threats.
Your OSINT team is responsible for gathering insights into the threats and risks present in digital open-source information. Your OSINT team can help you gather intelligence and get early warning on potential leaks of your data, including intellectual property, on the Deep and Dark Web. If employees are inadvertently oversharing on social media, or if your systems have been breached, active listening for mentions of your brand and data assets can help you mitigate fallout and limit your exposure to further damage.
5. Managing third party risk
Your organization must consider potential vulnerabilities in process, politics, contracts, legal and regulatory risks, and technology or information risks. You will also need to identify any specific events, decisions, or drivers that might increase those risks in the future. The Internet, including the Surface, Deep, and Dark Web, are a key resource at this stage. Your OSINT team gathers intelligence from news, blogs, and forums that can be used to gain a better understanding of threats facing third parties.
Before connecting new systems, partners, or people into the inner circles of the organization, your OSINT team will ensure that those connections are secure and have not had incidents or risks that would affect their organization, and ultimately yours. With many different types of threats on the horizon, having the right intelligence assets including OSINT skills within your organization is a game-changer.
Are you already using OSINT?
It is possible, if not likely that your organization is already using OSINT tactics. Digital information is ubiquitous and even unavoidable. But are you using it effectively? Experienced OSINT analysts are hard to come by, but they are best positioned to detect and investigate risks to your organization using open-source data including social media, blogs, forums, and media sources. Your OSINT team will be able to access the Deep and Dark Web safely, helping your organization to be better prepared for a possible attack.
Empower your security teams, no matter their skill set, with OSINT tools that help get the job done. The sooner you do this, the sooner your organization will have a full picture of what risks might lie on the horizon.