Retail organizations around the world are fully embracing open source intelligence (OSINT), and the concept of being able to seamlessly filter through billions of online posts to discover valuable intelligence for their security operations.
The need to explore new technological advances and OSINT techniques is crucial and because of that many of these security management teams will be in Anaheim, CA in June to attend NRF Protect, a conference that has been described as the “only place where loss prevention and cybersecurity professionals can unite to network, share insights and develop strategies vital to their organization’s protection.”
Loss Prevention and Security Experts Unite
An estimated 2,500 retail security professionals are expected to be in attendance at NRF. The conference is organized by the National Retail Federation, a trade association that represents the largest private-sector industry on in the U.S.
“As cyber threats continue to evolve, retailers are on the front lines of cybersecurity, working to protect their assets and data from criminal hacker groups that seek to steal sensitive data and exploit it for commercial gain,” event organizers say. “As (they) continue to expand, retailers must make investments to protect their systems, networks, people and customer information.”
Those attending, organizers add, will “learn from industry leaders, gain real-world knowledge and explore new products” from an array of exhibitors including Echosec who will be there to demonstrate the role our information discovery and intelligence platform of the same name, and Beacon, our new dark web intelligence solution, can and will play in the retail space.
Open Source Intelligence and Loss Prevention
When events occur, such as physical breaches or burglaries, Echosec with its advanced keyword and location filters provides situational awareness from the scene. The post-incident follow up would take place in Beacon, where the loss prevention team can gain instant visibility into dark web marketplaces and forums to watch for their goods being sold.
With the OSINT market expected to be worth upwards of $26 billion by 2026, according to a recent study from Zion Market Research, other ways retail organizations use it for are:
- Asset and Executive Protection
- Event Monitoring
- Safety & Security
- Internal & External Fraud
- Brand Reputation and Sentiment Gathering
The Role of Social Media
Echosec, focusing on social media, news, and blog content, displays crucial intelligence driven by all of us. Consumers, bloggers, social media users and newsmakers create billions of publicly available data points every day.
Echosec’s 24/7 monitoring functionality is incredibly helpful for understanding changes in public sentiment when negative incidents occur, as well as identifying physical threats within the stores and parking lots.
Echosec enables security teams to combine keyword and image detection with geographic area monitoring, and assign date ranges and advanced filtering tools to execute processes like:
- Multiple news source monitoring
- Crisis preparedness and response
- Workplace violation prevention
- Travel safety and security
- Consultative intelligence
The Importance of Dark Web Access
Beacon, on the other hand, is a dark web search engine that removes many obstacles from the information gathering process. Beacon allows users to safely search millions of dark web posts, collect information, and find the data they need to identify, investigate and action on malicious activity. Many IT and security teams do not have access to dark web tools to browse the dark web safely and others while having the tools, are unsure where to start. Beacon provides access to over six million dark web posts per month.
To that end, now that Beacon has been launched, it is being fine-tuned to focus on data aggregation and predictive intelligence through machine learning and AI in order to cut down the noise in the wealth of data coming into the platform.
That is critical, particularly since physical goods and breached consumer data like email addresses and credit card numbers are frequently bought and sold on underground forums – forums that require retailers to access intelligence from the very locations where threat actors operate.
Business is happening on the dark web. Once a breach is discovered, Beacon can help security professionals to learn more about the attackers and their motives, and possibly prevent future attacks.
Instant Visibility With Open Source Data
For asset and executive protection, using OSINT tools to detect mentions of brand names and key individuals online, both on social media, as well as in the form of leaked information on the dark web is critical.
With a wish list that is both wide and varied, retail security teams needs from an open source information perspective are constantly evolving.
Protecting assets and minimizing loss are just skimming the surface of what OSINT can do for retail. Other strengths for such tools include sourcing operations, protecting executive and employees during travel, situational awareness around shareholders meetings and monitoring of global events to determine what level of impact they might have on overall operations.
Open source intelligence tools like Echosec and Beacon are being used across retail security centres for real time information gathering, 24/7 location monitoring, and supporting threat intelligence to protect customers, employees, and executives.
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