When one thinks of physical threats and event security they may not initially think about the importance of social media monitoring. For hundreds of years, security teams have been set up to protect physical assets, such as VIP’s, dignitaries, executives and the like. Even now in the twenty-first century this has not changed. A good security team provides skilled and alert professionals on the ground and a supervisory team to coordinate with them based on a pre-planned strategy and a response plan for threats that arise in real time. A major part of any strategy is the reliance of eyes on the ground. A skilled agent can spot individuals who look out of place and close in on threats observed on the ground level. Another skill in the ground agent’s tool belt is the ability to analyze data received from a central hub, or dispatch. Sometimes this comes as a simple BOLO (be on the look out) alert. When a BOLO is issued, the ground team can be on alert for specific individuals who pose high risk of threat and may be on premises.
A good event security plan should entail a team conducting surveillance of online chatter. This includes social media, online forums and chat groups. What is spotted online can severely affect the direction of the ground efforts. This surveillance should include keyword study based on the client/asset’s name as well as trigger words such as “kill”, “hate”, “shoot” and many, many others. In addition to keyword monitoring, it is important to geofence all social media posts as well. Geofencing is the creation of a virtual perimeter using the GPS (global positioning system) information provided in users’ mobile phones. Although general threat monitoring across all the Web is important, it is paramount that the team knows exactly what threats are coming from the venue itself. Not only what threats, but who is making them.
Positive identification of each potential threat is a necessary component of any effective event security strategy. If someone tweets that they want to stab your VIP, members of your team should immediately identify and profile them to determine how to handle said threat. If the subject has a violent history, or photos of weapons or hate insignia on their social media, things might need to be escalated. If the subject is a thousand miles away from your client at the time of the threat, perhaps it can be shelved for the morning. If the subject is at the event at which the VIP is presenting/attending, the entire on-site security team needs to be put on high alert and the detail needs to be structured accordingly.
In addition to the physical security aspect, data leaks often happen at major events. A client’s marketing team may be working for months to build fan anticipation for an announcement, a trailer, or something else at a major entertainment convention. Did you know that hundreds of leaks come from these events? An onlooker could spoil everything with an Instagram pic or a YouTube upload. Those folks need to be notified and scolded. The same team that is monitoring the physical security threats should also be skilled in spotting leaks with the same zeal and expertise.
For the last decade, IPCybercrime has led the charge in this arena. No matter the location of the event, the subject matter, or even size, we have been assisting our clients’ security teams in doing all of the above. Our Threat Management and Data Leak services cover all of the above, as well as the ability to get field agents on the ground anywhere in the world to assist in any situation that arises. Oh, and IPCybercrime does this ethically and legally without creating unwanted tabloid issues for the client. Filing a police report is the equivalent of sending a press release directly to TMZ. Stay alert, be safe and discreet. Most importantly, don’t be blindsided.