So far in 2020 there are over 3.6 billion social media users worldwide and that number is estimated to grow to approximately 4.41 billion by 2025. The evolving and rapidly growing industry has many active users.
There is no question that data helps inform decision making. As with any organization, having the right data and being able to use that data are of the utmost importance. When it comes to the security industry, having the right data is critical to securing people, assets, and operations — resulting in less disruptions, more threat intelligence, and saving lives.
There is a wealth of information available on social media — from the needle in the haystack threat to analyzing massive datasets for trends and insights.
What is Social Media?
One of the most used forms of connectivity and communication, social media is a digital space for sharing videos, photos and text, as well as commenting, and engaging with other users.
Each unique platform has its own applications and is used in a wide range of industries and for many purposes. Common social media platforms include:
- Facebook (Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram)
- Sina Weibo
What can you find?
Social media has become an exceptionally powerful tool for finding crucial data. Text and images shared on social channels hold immense power and knowledge. Every post shared online holds value and such information can assist in preventing security incidents or mitigate risks.
Finding the Needle in a Haystack:
- Threats of violence
- Incidents of Stalking or Harassment
- Confidential information (addresses, phone numbers, banking information, SIN)
- Images disclosing private locations such as HQ, filming spots, or executive home addresses
Trends & Data Analysis:
- View trending terms or topics of conversation
- Understand sentiment around a brand or topic
- Learn which accounts are contributing high volumes of data
- Display geographic concentrations of online activity and chatter around specific topics
What can you do?
One of the main goals of security is to prevent incidents from occurring or escalating. Social media data provides a proactive approach to the investigation process by automating the search and collection process.
- Automate the search and collection so that an account threatening your headquarters is automatically forwarded to you, for proactive threat intelligence.
- Add all channel coverage into one view with custom filters for key terms of interest like “kill” or “blow up”, instead of manually scrolling through several different social media channel feeds for threats.
- View geospatial data to understand concentrations of sentiment or violence and/or visualize trends of company/industry opposition to inform security posture.
After identifying a post of interest, OSINT tools can help with determining more about the account posting, associated accounts/information, social connections, and other analytical information to understand threat severity.
With the help of OSINT tools, security teams can initiate ongoing monitoring of social media to investigate and identify when critical intel is being shared online while receiving real-time alerts.