Chan boards are like the bulletin boards of the digital space. In some ways, chan boards are similar to social media, as they have the power to ripple a topic or trend resulting in increased engagement with its content. With an infinite number of boards that exist, chan boards can contain valuable intel for physical security intelligence.
What are Chan Boards?
Occasionally referred to as image boards, chan boards are anonymous forums that exist on both a surface and deep web level used for sharing images and discussing topics of interest.
The most common chan boards are 2chan, 4chan, and 8chan, although there are many others that exist.
With limited boundaries and rules, chan boards are a place of free speech and tendentious chatter.
Chan boards have become increasingly more troublesome. Users are not required to create an account resulting in minimal liability. Additionally, boards expire after a period of time, leaving minimal to no trace of its activity with manual searching.
What can you find?
The breadth of chan boards provides intelligence in the masses. Some of the less concerning posts that can be found on chan boards are harmless images, memes, pranks, or conspiracy theories. The more discerning posts can include:
- Screed/Intel on shootings
- Extremism/extremist behaviours
- Propaganda/political debates
- Anti-company/industry events
- Violent threats
- Data leaks/breaches
- Controversial topics
- Illegal content
What can you do?
Open source intelligence tools (OSINT) allow security teams to investigate and initiate an ongoing monitoring of chan boards.
OSINT filters and detects only the most relevant and pertinent information. In some instances, posts are shared prior to an event providing critical and actionable insights for security teams.
Other times, information is shared following an event and can provide equally valuable data for discovery and investigation.
OSINT can be used as a tool for executive protection. Threats or confidential information pertaining to executives can frequently be found on chan boards.
Using a tool eases the workflow by automating the search, 24/7, searching to identify key information. This benefits security teams by eliminating the manual search time or missing critical information to increase their security posture.
In addition to scouring threads to locate any and all references to executives, OSINT provide identity information, addresses, and phone numbers.
Digital intelligence tools allow security teams to identify when this has occurred in order to protect an organization’s physical assets. To prevent incidents from occurring (or recurring) security teams can be notified and alerted when intel is found.
Want to learn more about how OSINT is used to bridge the gap between physical and digital security intelligence? Read more here