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How to Assess Your Executives’ Digital Footprint to Identify Threats

More and more executives are finding themselves in a "work from home" scenario which brings a new set of challenges to security managers and those responsible for safeguarding these executives.

Identity theft has been a hot topic even before the pandemic and has increased with the rise in cyber crime worldwide.

The threat posed by this type of breach can have a massive negative impact on the company and executive's reputation and cost the company huge financial losses.

The question many security managers and close protection teams are now asking is how do we assess this new developing threat. Ontic®️, and American based protective intelligence company developed an assessment tool which the below checklist is based on.

Use this checklist below to enhance your understanding of your executive’s digital footprint in three categories: Visibility online, Vulnerabilities, Improvement steps.

Visibility online

What information is visible online?

  • Is your executive’s personal information tied to their social media accounts? (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)

  • How engaged is your executive online and do they share personal photos and information? (e.g., home photo with address number)

  • Do the executive’s partner and/or children regularly post content on social media?

  • How often are location-based check-ins used via social media by the executive, their family, or friends?

  • Has your executive posted reviews on product or company sites? (e.g. Google, Hellopeter, Takealot)

  • How does your executive travel (e.g. private or commercial aircraft, helicopter, etc) and are vendors aware of confidentiality needed to keep them safe? (e.g. exposing tail number of aircraft)

  • Are charitable and political donations publicly available?

  • What news and press mentions are available online? Is there any news tied to immediate relatives?


Where are the cracks?

  • How predictable is your executive’s day-to-day and/or travel routine? What, if any, is shared online by others tied to their network related to routines?

  • Is an assistant active on social media (inadvertently or not) sharing confidential travel information? And does the assistant’s LinkedIn publicly display that they work for the executive?

  • Where does your executive regularly purchase services or products? Do vendors know to ask permission to share content around the executive’s patronage?

Improvement steps

What can be improved?

  • Who is in your executive’s ecosystem and what threats do they pose?

  • Tracking your principal/executive is not enough. What quick wins are available to you when it comes to removing sensitive information online? (e.g. blurring the executive’s home on Google Street View)

  • Is there a framework built to determine who can enter your executive’s circle?

  • What assets can be put in the company’s name, rather than the executive individually? (e.g. purchasing a new property)

Credits: ontic®️

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