It’s no secret digital technologies have changed everything. These were once just predictions of the future. Now their rapid emergence onto the market means that governments, businesses and citizens expect high speed, secure access to the Internet, 24×7 online services, and near-instant global sharing of information is the norm. It’s exactly this enthusiastic embrace of digital technologies that is not only powerfully represented in the 289 million Twitter users and nearly one-and-a-half billion Facebook accounts, but also offers a new route to exploitation by threat groups. From extremism, to foreign state espionage, cyber threats, or proliferation activities, the use of online means to recruit and task vulnerable citizens is adding an unwelcome burden on the high-pressure workload of national security agencies.
This is why it is more vital than ever to stay one step ahead of security threats through a paradigm shift in the core operating model of these government agencies. Traditionally, national security agencies knew what data they needed and where to find it. Today, gaining real-time insights from a large, fragmented and ever-changing pool of data is like looking for a needle in a haystack—one that is expanding at an ever-increasing pace. Current approaches to the collection, analysis, development and use of intelligence from open-source information (including social media, websites, blogs, online news, Web fora, and similar) are quickly becoming outdated as technology evolves at break neck speed.
Today, national security agencies’ operational advantages are at risk from rapid advances in technology. Further, the maturity of opponents’ technical security tradecraft, and the struggle to keep up with these advancements is omnipresent across all regions of the world. Violent extremists have operational security (OPSEC) manuals and even a 24-hour help desk to aid in the worldwide recruitment and conduct of terror, an unprecedented and frightening prospect. Following the San Bernardino attacks that left 14 people dead, it was reported that authorities had failed to detect social media posts sympathetic to violent jihad on one of the killer’s accounts during the immigration screening processes. Whilst a task such as immigration screening may seem instinctive for officers in such a role, without the time or resources for deep and accurate analysis of every case that arises, the ability to use advanced analytics to integrate covertly-acquired intelligence with open-source information becomes a highly limited proposition for national security agencies…Click HERE to read full article.