Physical and Cybersecurity are Merging Into One Integrated and Holistic Endeavor, with Social Media Playing a Key Role

April 12, 2021

During the last few years, the threat landscape has changed dramatically, becoming extremely complicated. Threat actors and groups are not only launching sophisticated and persistent attacks using advanced cybercrime tools, but have also been shifting their attention to highly profitable targets such as government agencies, research facilities, and infrastructure facilities such as power grids. Especially the convergence of physical and cybersecurity threats has created an expanded attack surface for threat actors. Since physical and digital assets of organizations are connected, threat actors can compromise assets and steal valuable data. Especially state-sponsored APT groups leverage this convergence for profit to boost their rogue government’s coffers or to plan terrorist attacks.

This new trend has forced organizations and enterprises to change their security-related operations to be able to ward off threats and prevent being compromised. In general, human-based teams have a hard time figuring out what part of that data is useful and what should be identified as noise, especially with the convergence of physical and cybersecurity. Based on collected and analyzed OSINT data, conversations on social media must be understood for finding out the structure, connections, interactions, and intentions of threat actor groups. Once a network or organization is identified, only relevant data that links back to those threat actors must be collected and analyzed for maximum efficiency and fast response time. For investors and analysts, this is an exhausting process that must be done quickly and accurately.  That’s why they are opting for an AI-powered WEBINT platform that will support their holistic approach regarding converged physical and cybersecurity. Such a versatile platform must have advanced capacities such as providing situational awareness, threat intelligence, and social media analysis.

The latter has become crucial since social media has become a key part of this new cybersecurity domain. Threat actors are using darknet websites, forums, and social media accounts to plan attacks, buy attack toolkits, and sell stolen data, often getting paid in cryptocurrency. A dark web monitoring tool helps investigators and analysts to follow their digital footprints for their threat intelligence investigations. The extracted insights provide situational awareness to stay ahead of threat actors to prevent threats, such as a terrorist or cyberattack, before they happen.

In other words, a social media analysis tool is a crucial part of a holistic approach, next to the automatic collection and analysis of open-source data from all layers of the web. For instance, threatening posts and messages on social media allow organizations to incorporate this information in their threat intelligence as part of a unified and cohesive security strategy for optimal incident management and fast follow-up.

As mentioned before, government agencies and enterprises are heavily investing in cybersecurity solutions that support a new approach for implementing an effective corporate security strategy. They need to identify their critical assets, assess their risk exposure, and evaluate existing controls to enhance their overall security capability. Once they have their security strategy and risk management framework in place, they need to opt for an AI-powered WEBINT platform with monitor social media capabilities for gaining social media and threat intelligence from collected and analyzed open-source web data.

The WEBINT platform of Cobwebs is able to identify threat actors and their communication channels thanks to its AI and ML algorithms, basically taking over the investigation. The results are compiled in a highly accurate report for follow-up. Based on the keywords and search terms entered by the investigators or analysts, the AI tool will monitor social media, especially on the dark web, for clues. This allows them to get insight into the human connections within a group or organization and their plans.

To conclude, with physical and cybersecurity merging into one integrated and holistic endeavor, an AI-powered WEBINT platform with dark web social media analysis capabilities is the way to go.

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