Laura Brown (CCO)

Laura Brown (CCO)

Sales and Marketing

11/06/2020

11/06/2020

Preparing for Protests with Threat Intelligence Software

The United States is currently in the midst of one of the most tumultuous years in its recent history...

The country has been working to contain the health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a struggling economy due to a global recession, and now a wave of societal upheaval over police violence and racism. Responding to these have been made worse by the political polarisation of the country, and a coming presidential election in November. Protests and rioting have become routine in recent weeks, and tension in major cities across the United States remains.

What do businesses need to be aware of during this time? 

The impact on businesses can be significant during a time of social unrest, protestors can not only cause minor disruption from planned events and marches but can directly target businesses. We’ve seen protests that aim to damage property, reputations, occupy business premises, intimidate staff or in extreme cases injure people associated with an organisation. Even peaceful demonstrations can quickly escalate into violence, looting and rioting, regardless of the intentions of the majority, as we’ve seen across the United States in the last few weeks.

 

Heatmap of BLM Incidents following George Floyd's murder
A heatmap showing the areas of high concentration for protests and unrest since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on the 25th May 2020. [Source: Intelligence Fusion] 

 

To maintain business activities and minimise the risk to your organisation, as a security professional you need reliable alerts surrounding new and ongoing incidents. This will support you to make better, more informed decisions when it comes to protecting your assets.

Awareness in advance is key when it comes to social unrest and protests. Being able to map incidents ahead of time allows us to give our clients the heads-up days, weeks or often months before an event takes place, allowing you to better prepare for disruption and reduce the threat to both people and assets in the area.

It’s commonplace for activists, groups and demonstrators to coordinate events and share information about upcoming actions via social media to maximise support during protests. Our analysts monitor all forms of social media including Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter as well as encrypted messaging channels such as Telegram and Periscope to provide detail on upcoming events and tactics.

 

Selection of BLM Demonstrations in the United States
Map highlighting a selection of Protest incidents involving the Black Lives Matter group since May 25th 2020. [Source: Intelligence Fusion]

 

All too often, however, social media users can share old footage or misinformation. Often without realising it, but this can lead to wasted time, resource and money for your security team. Ensuring intelligence is real, accurate and most importantly, actionable is paramount which is why the human element of intelligence can’t be replaced. Taking data and converting into intelligence requires insight and experience. Intelligence Fusion’s military-trained analysts verify every incident before it’s disseminated to clients, to ensure accuracy as well as actionability.  

What else do you need to know?

To gain a complete understanding of the threat environment, one of the things that you need to quickly ascertain is who’s involved. Our analysts add physical groups and/or the individuals involved in each incident, and our software makes their role clear too; for example, if they’re an actor, whether they were directly targeted or even indirectly affected by an incident. This allows you to both monitor brand names and tracks the activity of specific threat actors, with a timely alerting function that can notify you of new incidents involving groups or people of interest.   

 

The details of a looting incident in NYC
The details of a looting incident that occured in New York City on the 1st June 2020. The incident profile highlights the groups and individuals involved, targeted or affected by the looting. [Source: Intelligence Fusion]

 

It’s also important to understand the severity of the threat so that you can minimise the risk by tailoring the most appropriate response. Assigning an ‘impact rating’ to an incident can help security professionals prioritise their response and focus on what could be the most damaging to their assets or operations. We, for example, have a five-point scale from Insignificant to Extreme based on a variety of factors, including the potential lives lost, business days impacted as well as the financial consequences of an event to give you a better understanding of the threat your business faces.  

What can you do?

Threat intelligence is key to managing and maintaining business during these uncertain times. Reliable, fact-checked data can provide you with an advantage not only when responding to unrest, but in terms of spotting potential actions and identifying trends through indicators and warnings.

 

Encampment in Capitol Hill, Seattle
Protestors including Antifa and Black Lives Matter have set up an autonomous zone in Seattle's Capitol Hill following riots with police. Image shows the area declared as the commune. [Source: Intelligence Fusion]

 

And it’s not only high-quality intelligence that’s important, but choosing a software solution that enables you to streamline that feed of data and customise the interface can have significant benefits too. If you can tailor your threat intelligence platform to truly reflect your business operations, you can focus on what’s important, increasing the response time and productivity of your team. 

What’s the cost of making a bad decision for your business? Learn how security leaders at Kimberly-Clark, Solvay and BASF are better protecting their assets, speak to the Intelligence Fusion team today.

 

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