Last month, a gunman stormed the main offices of The Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five employees. In the hours that followed, local authorities disclosed the attacker had a long-standing grudge against the community newspaper, having posted about The Gazette in approximately 149 out of his 876 tweets. The gunman also posted a threatening tweet just days before carrying out the shooting.
This is just one of thousands of examples of bad actors utilizing social media while they engage – or plan to engage – in illegal activities. Public entities, law enforcement and private enterprise seeking to stay ahead of potential security threats benefit from the ability to tap today’s advanced technology to successfully curate and interpret online threats. Whether in a global or local landscape, a well-rounded and successful security posture must incorporate social media monitoring. Identifying hostile behavior in advance, security teams are well positioned to augment and implement resources to appropriately address the threat.
Using a robust technology platform with advanced analytics, MSA Security’s intelligence analysts pull large tracts of multilingual data in near real-time based on a variety of established filtering variables and keywords, hashtags, emojis, dates, times and more. Yet, effectively leveraging the data derived in overwhelming quantities from numerous social media platforms, consumer, news and other public channels, takes a well-trained human eye.
MSA analysts then comb the data to assess trends and translate results into actionable intelligence for each client’s unique profile and objectives. Data is determined relevant and germane based on a multitude of contextual elements such as the individual’s location, their associations or prior social media activity. This very essential human layer filters out all the noise, revealing only true threats to public safety or security and allowing security teams to properly focus resources.
It is critical that organizations – public or private and from a variety of industries – incorporate social media monitoring into their overall security plan to effectively stay ahead of today’s emerging threats.