Data Mining the Web for Digital Risk Detection

The digital world doesn’t exist in a silo. It is coursing through, under, and around the physical world. The ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ worlds are becoming increasingly fused as the Internet of Things picks up pace. Unlike the physical world, the digital world requires a new class of tools, technologies, and machine learning to support the 21st century security and risk professionals.

Real-time situational awareness and insight into IT, physical, and reputational risks

Today, crucial real-time insight into IT, physical, and reputational risks, both tangible and intangible, comes from monitoring digital information from open source, social, mobile, and surface, deep, and dark web domains, as well as internal servers. For example, risk vectors can be associated with an email sent at strange hour, a malicious tweet, intellectual property posted to DropBox, a rise in ambient temperature at a storage facility, or a namedrop on I2P. Effective monitoring and analytics are essential in order to identify and address vulnerabilities before threats arise and to head off potentially serious financial and reputational impacts.

Use this simple digital risk taxonomy from Forrester Research to start your digital risk management process

Analyst firm Forrester uses a taxonomy that identifies four categories to help organizations understand the interplay between the digital and physical worlds:

Points of presence: “company-owned or -sponsored domains that publicly represent an organization”

  • Physical: offices, stores, the hotel where a company event is hosted, etc.
  • Digital: web domains, e-commerce platforms, intranets, etc.

Actors: “people directly or indirectly associated with an organization”

  • Physical: employees, criminals, partners, and (rising quickly in importance and influence) customers, etc.
  • Digital: online avatars of any of the above

Assets: “property, information, and other material items that hold intrinsic or strategic value”

  • Physical: warehouses, pipelines, machinery, servers, etc.
  • Digital: intellectual property, data on servers, etc.

Affinities: “tangible and intangible connections” among the above. This is the ether in which the above three categories exist.

Read a real-life example how digital risk from a popular social media application Strava resulted in physical risk and a national security threat.

Detect and respond to rapidly evolving digital risk situations

This framework helps illuminate the tangible and intangible relationships between the digital and physical worlds. For example, the tangible affinity in the case of a server room, a server, the data on it, and a rogue employee with unauthorized access to the server room becomes evident when the employee quits and takes IP to a competitor. But, the intangible affinity between the rogue employee and server room access is discoverable with the aid of digital risk monitoring technologies that provide early warning: perhaps a series of late night emails, or keycard access detected at an anomalous hour. With the right tools, patterns can be established within a data set with anomalies providing clues to otherwise intangible risks.

Data volume increases dramatically with systems that account for all available digital risk sources, such as an organization’s digital archives and a fire hose of unfiltered tweets. The upside for risk officers is that the available information is richer and more actionable than before. But the scale of big data streams are a challenge to today’s digital risk professionals without effective solutions.

Using DigitalStakeout for digital risk insights from the web and social media

DigitalStakeout’s external threat management solution, processes, and method of analysis enable a proactive and dynamic approach to security risk. Scalable, web-based tools allow digital risk officers to aggregate data from digital sources, analyze findings in a sophisticated manner, and visualize risk information to identify anomalous or threatening activities. Hundreds of security and risk professionals are leveraging DigitalStakeout’s proven methodology to head off threats to their organizations.