As security challenges faced by corporations become increasingly complex, social media intelligence (SOCMINT) has emerged as a powerful tool.  

Social media has become a cornerstone of modern life, with an estimated 2.94 billion people worldwide using various platforms to connect, share, and communicate. The interactive and communal nature of online discussions and forums attracts a large audience, making it a prime breeding ground for potential threats and threat actors. These hazards often sprout on social media before they evolve into real and present dangers.  

Forward-thinking businesses have embraced social media threat intelligence because it allows them to access various open-source data sources, monitor emerging trends and threats, and efficiently suppress malicious activity.   

In this blog post, we’ll discuss why SOCMINT should be part of your corporate security strategy and how you can exploit it for maximum impact. 


Learn More: How to Use OSINT to Safeguard Your Company’s Reputation Online


What is Social Media Intelligence? 

social media profiles overlayed on top of a laptop background

Social media intelligence, or SOCMINT, is an emerging sub-discipline of open-source intelligence (OSINT). SOCMINT enables organizations to collect, analyze and gain insights from data gathered from social media networks.  

The general discussion around SOCMINT confines intelligence sources to social networking sites like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The data sources security professionals utilize are much more expansive. They include video-sharing websites such as Youtube, forums like Reddit, and even product/service review websites like Yelp.  

Additionally, social media platforms provide three categories of information: profile information, interactions, and metadata.

Profile information 

Static information about a user that provides a snapshot into their world. The content is observable to anyone who accesses the profile. For example, this might include education information and current employment on Facebook.



Social media platform users can interact with other users or the platform in various ways. Typical forms of interaction include replying to someone else's content or post, posting pictures or videos, and reacting to and "liking" existing content. 



Information found on social media encompasses more than just pictures and text. Every time a user snaps a photo, the smartphone or camera records information like the type of camera used, where, and when the picture was taken. This information is called metadata or EXIF data.  


Utilizing SOCMINT for Corporate Security 

Initially, social media threat intelligence resided mainly within the domain of law enforcement and state actors. However, private companies and organizations have adopted it as part of their security toolkit. It has elevated the way businesses think about corporate security. By leveraging the power of social media, SOCMINT allows organizations to identify risks, validate threats and monitor emerging hazards.   


Social media threat intelligence benefits organizations in the following ways: 

Real-Time Threat Intelligence 

real time icon

Security teams face immense pressure to identify and address real-time threats while assessing travel risks and preventing operational disruptions. SOCMINT provides better situational awareness by gathering real-time data from social media channels across a wide area. This feature empowers security teams to anticipate vulnerabilities, manage risks proactively and take pre-emptive measures against potential threats.  

A prime example of the benefit of this kind of real-time intelligence occurred in 2021 when a political extremist posted his plans to bomb an Amazon data center online. Company officials alerted law enforcement of the imminent threat, preventing an attack and saving lives.  

Similarly, in 2013 social media threat intelligence thwarted fans' plans to rush the field after the game. Online conversation alerted the Vikings of the imminent field rush, and the security team responded by adding additional security guards ahead of the game.  


Pinpoint Threat Locations 

As mentioned previously, images posted online contain a treasure trove of information. Metadata or EXIF data can reveal everything from the type of camera used, the camera settings, and, most pertinent for security professionals- where and when the user took the photo. Analysts can use this data to pinpoint the location of a threat actor or emerging hazard and send it to a security team. The applications of this intelligence are numerous. It can assist with travel and route planning and help security teams avoid and prevent imminent danger.  


Prevent Data Leaks  

A data leak's financial consequences can be devastating for any organization. From lost revenue to reputation damage, the potential costs are staggering. A 2021 survey by IBM indicated that the average cost of a data breach exceeds $ 3 million. 

SOCMINT enables security teams to scour the depths of social media, fringe online communities, and dark web marketplaces where leaked data is bought and sold. By staying vigilant and monitoring these sites regularly, teams can quickly identify and respond to any potential breaches, reducing the risks to both their employees and the organization. 



SOCMINT does not require the use of expensive equipment or technology. Instead, it relies on publicly available information and is garnered using open-source tools. By leveraging the power of social media users and their networks, organizations can gain insight into potential vulnerabilities and threats without heavily investing in specialized equipment or technical services. 

The above list of benefits is not exhaustive. However, it does serve to underscore how essential social media threat intelligence is to an effective security strategy.  


Challenges of Implementing SOCMINT 

a maze of challenges

While SOCMINT is an effective means of protecting assets and operations, there are several challenges to consider, including: 

Data overload: With terabytes of data being uploaded to social media every minute, one person or team can't comb through and analyze all of it manually. To make sense of this data, teams must rely on advanced tools that can collect and analyze the data automatically. 

Fake Profiles and Bots: As technology advances, so do phony accounts on social media platforms. Consequently, it is more difficult to identify real accounts from fakes. Discerning between the two creates a challenge when distinguishing genuine content from falsified information. 

Public Relations: With the blurry distinction between public and private information, any data-gathering activities through social media can lead to legal repercussions or backlash from the public. Organizations should be aware of this risk before they venture into such activities. 

Obscure Online Communities: Many companies and individuals already use popular social media platforms. However, many alt-tech communities on the internet may need to be better known, leading to a potential risk of missed security threats.  

Utilizing LifeRaft’s SOCMINT Platform to Improve Your Corporate Security Profile: Sorting through the vast abyss of social media can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. With an experienced partner, companies can easily keep up with the constant stream of information. 

Fortunately, LifeRaft's Navigator product can take on the Herculean task of monitoring social media for you, providing invaluable risk and threat insight to help you better protect your employees, intellectual property, brand, and customers.  


The Bottom Line on SOCMINT for Corporate Security 

Social media threat intelligence offers robust detection capabilities and decreased threat exposure. Additionally, it helps organizations mitigate risk and increases assurance in corporate security protocols. 

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how to integrate SOCMINT into your current organizational security architecture. Together we can develop a framework that preserves safety and stability while leveraging the power of modern technology. 


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