WEBINT and OSINT Tackles Extremist Groups

November 3, 2020

Days before a charged presidential election in the United States, warnings about radical civil unrest have spiked across the country as law enforcement agencies voice concerns regarding a possible outbreak of violence by radical and militia groups.

The warnings come after authorities noticed a spike in worrisome chatter in online forums by right-wing extremists, and while there will likely be no coordinated plan for widespread violence, isolated attacks, including those online, are still a threat that must be dealt with.

On the day of the first presidential debate between US President Donald Trump and Democratic Nominee Joe Biden, the FBI’s Dallas field office called the elections a “potential flashpoint” and warned local law enforcement about a rising threat from the “Boogaloo Boys,” a militia consisting of far-right white supremacist groups who have declared their intention to bring about a civil war.

Though the warning was issued by the Dallas field office, the Boogaloo Boys are spread across the country and have been behind several deadly acts of violence, as are a number of other extremist and neo-Nazi groups.

Radical and militia groups are rampant on the deep web and members are networked together, allowing them to plan and can carry out doxing attacks or plan potentially violent attacks against government sites.

With the ability to communicate almost 24/7 with others of a similar mindset and develop strong bonds and friendships which can also see them planning attacks with their “brothers-in-arms,” they are often radicalized even further.

Online vigilantism has been around since the beginning of the internet and doxing has emerged as one of the more popular phenomena by groups using not only the deep or dark web but websites and applications to obtain and then post sensitive and private documents about others.

The internet and all of its levels offer the possibility to obtain information on individuals, including leading political figures, with varying degrees of anonymity and little government oversight.

Solutions offered by Cobwebs provide several tools to prevent violence and deadly attacks during radical civil unrest such as web intelligence, automated and powerful artificial intelligence (AI) as well as machine learning technologies.

Data-driven web intelligence technologies can provide critical insights to authorities to monitor, track and analyze online activity on all levels of the internet, including the deep and dark web in order to discover new data sources and leads.

Internet monitoring software coupled with AI algorithms can also conduct facial recognition processes that automatically detect attributes and facial features of individuals in images across the web and match them to threat actors databases. Once matched, the web monitoring AI service will trigger real-time alerts for law enforcement officials.

Meanwhile, a social network analysis with data mined by the AI-driven search engines can provide key data such as patterns, relationships, and associations with the ability to then map a network of threat actors.

Even with encrypted social networks where individuals attempt to circumvent authorities, by using web intelligence tools provided by Cobwebs, authorities are able to intercept chatter by groups promoting radical civil unrest and even track if they may be planning an attack.

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