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avery@greymarketlabs.com

Protecting Investigators

By | Data Privacy, Data Protection | No Comments

Private, federal, and state investigators are increasing their online presence because more of their work is going online.  For the most part, investigators are not trained in cybersecurity practices.  So, when they are online looking for criminals, there is a high chance that those same criminals are looking back at them.  This puts their organization, investigation, friends, and family at risk.  Most investigators try to separate their work life from their personal life, but the internet blurs the line between personal and work.

For example, in 2018, investigators were researching sex traffickers, specifically massage parlors in Manhattan, using VPNs; however, real estate agents were still able to track down their information and call those investigators on their personal cellphones.  These investigators suddenly became aware that their online presence was able to be tied to their personal lives even with cybersecurity practices.

The separation of work and personal is key, but investigators still need to access the tools and data needed for their job.  The undercover tradecraft needs to be applied to this field to protect legal and legitimate investigations.  So how do we protect investigators?

1st: Investigators need the tradecraft and training in cybersecurity to ensure they can protect themselves.  They also need to understand what will expose them to the digital world.

2nd: They need comprehensive tools to ensure they are not exposed at the seams.  Investigators are currently using multiple tools that are not designed to work cohesively together (VPNs, burner phones, anonymous browsers).  These individual products have a marginal benefit that leaves open cracks which criminals can exploit.  There needs to be a comprehensive solution/product that can combine these disparate tools in a seamless manner and seal the current gaps.

To work towards eliminating these gaps, check out opaque.ai for more information.

Activity Tracking

By | Data Protection, Social Networking | No Comments

The concept of privacy is multifaceted and complex, a concept that has evolved over time with emerging technologies, across societies and cultures, and redefined as new domains are discovered and explored. A subset of privacy, information or data privacy, focuses on control over the collection, usage, and dissemination of people’s personal information. Boundaries for data privacy and data protection are often determined by analyzing a plurality of factors such as legal, policy, ethical, and economic considerations. Regardless of factors, the pervasiveness of data privacy-compromising methods and tools is overwhelming.

A common means of collecting personal information is through online tracking. There are numerous types of identifiers and attributes online trackers utilize. They work transparently in most cases, and their scope permeates throughout digital mediums and across sectors [1]. Each item in the list below relies on software and hardware-based methods for activity tracking:

  • Websites use browser provided information to identify and track users
  • Mobile devices have unique identifiers and numerous sensors that online trackers rely on [2]
  • Smart televisions can not only collect and disseminate what we watch, but they potentially open an attack vector for malicious actors [3]
  • Vehicles can use numerous sensors to record data on vehicle location, driver and driving characteristics, cabin environment, etc. [4]
  • Flight tracking services managed to predict significant business deals by monitoring the routes of company jets [5]

The wealth of collected data is used to build comprehensive profiles and generate insights. These profiles “can reveal our political affiliation, religious beliefs, sexual identity and activity, race and ethnicity, education level, income bracket, purchasing habits, and physical and mental health” [6]. This collected data is potentially shared and further enhanced, in some cases revealing the identity of the individuals behind the profile. Protecting life online requires a multifaceted data protection approach. To handle this evolving environment, Opaque is adaptable with security and privacy designed into its core.