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What is Threat Leakage?

Threat leakage -- in the context of social media monitoring and investigations & social media threat monitoring-- refers to an individual unintentionally or deliberately revealing their intent to carry out a violent or harmful act through the course of their online postings and activities. It is crucial for security professionals to consider this concept within their risk management framework, as it can help them identify potential threats, assess their severity, and take appropriate action to prevent incidents.

A harmful weapon sitting on a keyboard used for posting to social media.

What are Signs of a High Risk Threat Actor?

Some specific elements that convey the emergence of a high risk threat are the following indicators:

  1. Threatening language: Direct or indirect statements that suggest the individual's intent to harm others or themselves or carry out a violent act.

  2. Manifestos and detailed plans: Individuals sharing written or video content that outlines their motives, targets, and methods for a violent act.

  3. Evidence of radicalization: Content that shows an individual's alignment with extremist ideologies or intent to participate in a violent or extremist group.

  4. Acquisition of weapons or materials: Discussions, posts, or images that indicate an individual has obtained or is seeking to obtain weapons, explosive materials, or other tools to carry out a violent act.

  5. Fixation of past violent incidents: An obsession with past acts of violence, mass shootings, or terror attacks indicates a desire to emulate or surpass them.

  6. Focus on specific individuals or groups: Posts or messages that single out individuals or groups, indicating a potential victim or location for an attack.

  7. History of violent or criminal behavior: A person's online history may reveal past incidents of violence, harassment, or criminal activity that could suggest a pattern of behavior or potential escalation.

  8. Changes in behavior: Sudden changes in online activity, such as increased violent rhetoric or a shift in focus towards specific targets, may indicate an increased threat level.

  9. Emotional distress or mental health concerns: Posts or messages that suggest emotional turmoil, hopelessness, or suicidal ideation may be a warning sign of potential violence.

  10. Social isolation and rejection: Individuals who feel alienated, rejected, or disconnected from society may be more likely to engage in violent behavior to retaliate or gain attention.

Security and risk professionals should use these indicators to assess the risk posed by individuals on social media and determine the appropriate course of action, such as monitoring, intervention, or engaging law enforcement. It's important to note that not every indicator implies an imminent threat, but multiple indicators can help you make informed decisions about potential threats.


Catch Threat Leakage Early

Given the volume of social media posting data that is continuously generated, it is essential to have an aggregation platform in place that aggregates that data and automates its assessment. Further, a workflow and alerting structure enables situational awareness and provide immediate security insights. Learn more about DigitalStakeout's approach to social media threat monitoring.

Spot Threat Leakage Quickly

A heat map indicating threats to assess.

The DigitalStakeout platform has purpose-built security and risk classifiers that automatically tag your aggregated threat intelligence data. These classifiers are able to identify over 20 different security and risk topics, making it easier for security professionals to quickly identify and assess risk indicators. See a live demo now.


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