INA’s Impact Podcast Ep. 2: Do you really know who you are hiring?

In this episode, INA will discuss the benefits of using social media and open source for investigations and pre-employment screening.  INA was an early adopter and provider of social media screenings and investigations.  These screenings provide valuable insight that gives a clear picture of the individual being hired or investigated.  In a Career Builder survey 70% of employers said they used social media in some way to screen candidates.   INA has the expertise to help organizations understand how these screenings can be a benefit.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/impact-ep-2-do-you-really-know-who-you-are-hiring/id1510015402?i=1000473560084

 

IMPACT: INA’s security podcast: Ep. 1 Coronavirus and Security

INA’s Impact podcast provides timely information on security, risk, intelligence, and investigation issues. This episode discusses the security impact of coronavirus. From physical security, cyber security, to disinformation, coronavirus has impacted our daily lives and business and personal security needs. INA’s President John Sancenito discusses how to protect yourself and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

FBI Warns of VTC Hijackings

On March 30, 2020, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alerted users of video teleconferencing (VTC) services of the rise in VTC hijackings. These incidents are also often referred to as “Zoom-Bombing,” which references the popular VTC service Zoom. A VTC hijacking occurs as a video conference is taking place and is suddenly interrupted with pornographic material, hate images, and/or threatening language. The goal of these hacks is often to generate content that can be featured on social media platforms or to simply cause an interruption.

The FBI Boston field office in Boston, Massachusetts, has had multiple reports of VTC hijackings. In late March 2020, a Massachusetts-based high school reportedly had an unidentified individual interrupt a classroom Zoom meeting and begin shouting obscenities. The individual also reportedly yelled the teacher’s home address. A separate school in Massachusetts claimed a Zoom hijacker joined a teleconference and displayed swastika tattoos over their webcam.

In order to prevent users of Zoom and other VTC platforms from becoming hijacking victims, the FBI recommended the following safety precautions:

    1) Make meetings private, which requires either a password to enter a meeting or places people in a “waiting room” to control admittance;
    2) Do not share Zoom conference links on public social media accounts;
    3) Change the screen sharing setting to “Host Only”;
    4) Ensure users keep Zoom clients up to date with the latest Zoom software and all passwords;
    5) Ensure the company’s telework policy or guide address requirements for physical and information security.

The FBI encouraged VTC hijacking victims to report incidents to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. If any direct threats are made during a video conference hijacking, users are urged to submit a tip using the FBI’s electronic Tip Form at tips.fbi.gov or call a field office.

In addition to VTC hijacking cyber threat actors are also taking recently registered Zoom-themed web domains and creating malware filled websites. These fake Zoom websites trick unsuspecting users into believing they are downloading the Zoom application. Instead, fake Zoom websites infect computers with malware and collect private information if not identified and removed in time. Specifically, files using the “zoom-us-zoom_##########.exe” naming scheme were recently discovered.

Zoom-based incidents are not the first cyber-related incidents to occur as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, however. When the virus began to quickly spread throughout the United States in January and February 2020, cyber threat actors began to take advantage of the situation almost immediately. Threat actors would deploy malware-infected coronavirus-related content in the hopes of infiltrating computers to gather private data and information. The content would lure in unsuspecting users attempting to stay updated on the latest news surrounding the virus. In one specific case, coronavirus maps were being deployed with malware that appeared very similar to the map created by Johns Hopkins University.

The large number of people forced to work or attend school from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a lack of proper security etiquette, is very likely the reason for the increase in VTC hijackings. Many companies and schools have been forced to rely on VTC applications such as Zoom to communicate with employees, continue running operations, or teach their respective classes. Zoom alone has seen a 21% increase in user growth since the end of 2019. So far, 2.22 million people have signed up for the service, whereas 1.9 million people signed up all of 2019. The number of signees could also continue to expand rapidly if more organizations and academic institutions are forced to work from home.

For more information call INA at 717 599 5505 or email at info@ina-inc.com.

Posted Apr. 3, 2020
By Nathan Kormanik, Intelligence Analyst, Risk and Threat Intelligence

Benefits of INA Social Media Screenings and Investigations

For years, pre-employment screenings relied almost exclusively on criminal background investigations. Likewise, investigations for lawsuits, threats, bad behavior, theft, etc., relied significantly on interviews, surveillance, records retrieval, and more. All these methods continue to have utility in modern investigations; however, in some cases these investigation methodologies may be augmented and even replaced with social media/open source investigations.

Social media/open source investigation may provide vast amounts of data on a subject. More importantly, these investigations deliver insight into the character of an individual beyond that obtained from traditional background investigation methods. Whether conducting a pre-employment screening or investigating fraud, social media/open source investigations assist with making connections and discovering information necessary for a complete picture of an individual.

Today, social media/open source investigations serve to augment the pre-employment screening process. Simply stated, information developed from social media pre-employment screenings adds a new dimension to the hiring process. While it might not seem a common practice to conduct a social media/open source pre-employment screening, recent surveys demonstrate that including social media/open source screening in the pre-employment process has become commonplace.

In 2017, Career Builder conducted a survey asking employers if they used social media during the hiring process. Astonishingly, 70% of employers surveyed claimed they utilized social media during the hiring process. While many organizations may handle these investigations internally, they may not have the training, experience, software, and techniques to adequately locate information that may provide insight into the candidate’s suitability for employment.

Social media/open source investigations go beyond pre-employment screening. Investigations involving social media/open source provide details on a subject’s history, relationships/friendships/associations, interests, location, items they own, recent activities, publications, places they frequent, hobbies, finances, and character insights and may provide recent images of the subject. Information gathered from these investigations assist with legal cases, fraud issues, risk assessments, background investigations, security assessments, etc.

Another thing to consider with social media/open source investigations involves the constant changing nature of content. In some cases, a social media/open source investigation may require constant or periodic monitoring. This monitoring provides updated information for a case, a security brief, or risk assessment. INA specializes in these type of monitoring projects for various types of clients from Fortune 100 companies to individuals.

For over 12 years, Information Network Associates (INA) has remained on the forefront of social media/open source investigations. As a result of this more than 12 years’ experience, INA developed the techniques and procedures necessary to generate effective and useful pre-employment screenings and investigations. Our pre-employment screenings are in compliance with all applicable laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Recently, INA made significant changes regarding the manner in which it receives pre-employment background screenings. INA introduced its new background portal in 2019. This portal provides additional functionality to the user. The new portal allows clients various options for inputting, tracking, and receiving notification about pre-employment screenings. Importantly, the addition of an applicant management system allows for seamless integration into an organization’s human resources processes.

For more information call INA at 717 599 5505 or email at info@ina-inc.com.

Posted Feb. 13, 2020
By Cody Kantner, Director of Risk and Threat Intelligence

Eco-Terror Group Claims Murders of Tech CEOs

 

A new report indicates that on November 9, 2019, the eco-terrorist organization “Individualists Tending Toward the Wild-USA Natures Wrath” (ITS) released a communique claiming they murdered Tech executives Tushar Atre and Erin Valenti. The communique, released on the anarchist website ‘Maldición Eco-extremista’, reads in part:

“Wishing death to all of civilization, our group of extremists happily murdered two Tech executives in the West Coast, Tushar Atre and Erin Valenti. We conducted the killings for no other reason than the symbolism of seeing two flimsy appendages of the technoindustrial system laying first in agony, and then motionless before us.”

According to mainstream news sources, three suspects in the case of Tushar Atre were captured on video around 3:00 a.m. on October 1, 2019. Atre was CEO of AtreNet, a web marketing and design company and had recently become involved with cannabis manufacturing. Reports reveal Atre was kidnapped from his home located on the 3000 block of Pleasure Point Drive. Santa Cruz County Sherriff’s Office revealed on October 2, 2019, they found Atre’s deceased body and car. Police released a video of three individuals they believed to be suspects in the murder of Atre. One of the suspects was observed carrying a rifle and another was carrying a duffel bag.

 

 

 

 

According to mainstream news sources, Erin Valenti’s body was found on October 12, 2019, in San Jose, California. Valenti was the CEO of Tinker Ventures, an app and website development firm. Reports indicate she was driving from Palo Alto, California, to San Jose, California, in order to catch a flight, but she never arrived on the flight. Police located her body in the back seat of a car she rented on a residential street. A report indicates that on October 7, 2019, family of Valenti received an odd phone call from her, in which she made the statement “it’s all a game, we’re in the matrix” before hastily getting off the phone because she was about to miss a flight.

The full communique of ITS reads:

 

 

Analysis: To be clear, at this point it remains impossible to verify the validity of the claim made on the anarchist website ‘Maldición Eco-extremista’. ITS began in Mexico in 2011, releasing its first communique claiming an attack on a nanotechnology research scientist. In 2017, ITS claimed the murder of Lesvy Berlin Rivera Osorio and two hikers in Mexico. ITS claimed “every human being merits extinction” in their statement about Rivera Osorio’s murder claim. ITS essentially opposes any civilization and ITS claims the hikers were killed simply for being in the forest. It is entirely possible ITS released this most recent claims in order to invoke fear. No evidence has been released yet to indicate individuals associated with ITS were involved in the recent deaths and the 2017 murders.

Many anarchists and activists outlets openly shun and denounce ITS’s tactics, not wanting to advocate murder. That noted, if indeed the most recent attacks and the attacks in 2017 were in some way connected to ITS, it indicates an extreme level of violence most eco activists claim never happens as part of their movement. While this level of violence is denounced by mainstream activism, this action may indicate there are some unstable individuals willing to commit extreme violence on behalf of the movement.

In addition, since activists outlets maintain some editorial control over what communiques they publish, it is possible they are not posting the more extreme claims of their movement. While the claim has been made that eco-extremist movement has never killed anyone, it remains possible that most outlets may not publish such claims in order to argue that their movement does not hurt or injure, but only engages in property damage.

The anarchist website ‘Maldición Eco-extremista’ appears to not filter information they receive. The website notes, (translated from Spanish):

“ME in no case validates the actions of violent groups. Our work is merely to study to make visible the different problems in which our planet is. Everything corresponding to pronouncements of violent groups against civilization is received in our contact emails.”

Unless further details about the recent murders are released to demonstrate ITS was not involved, there is unlikely to be clarity concerning their involvement. In addition, the murders in 2017 in Mexico and the recent deaths of the tech CEOs were widely reported, so it is possible ITS is simply utilizing the claim of murders to invoke fear and had nothing to do with the crimes.

Posted Jan. 20, 2020
By Cody Kantner, Director of Risk and Threat Intelligence

From Pies in the Face to Kidnapping, Executives Face Numerous Threats

The amount of money companies spend on protection of CEOs, executives, and high profile individuals varies tremendously. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires security costs that provide a direct benefit to the executives to be disclosed. Even the costs on the SEC filing may not present an entire picture of all the costs associated with protecting a CEO or other executive. About the security costs associated with Apple CEO Tim Cook, one author notes of the nearly $700,000 spent to protect him in 2014, “The figure likely reflects only those costs that are specific to protecting Cook. There will, of course, be more general security costs associated with protecting Apple execs both at 1 Infinite Loop and at events (Lovejoy 2015).”

Executive protection costs listed in SEC filings are not itemized and therefore may include a variety of different security measures. These measures could include executive protection, security systems, etc. High profile CEOs/executives often receive threats to their personal safety and as a result require more security. Conversely, other CEOs/executives may not have as high of a profile and, therefore, do not need as much personal security. The type of security threats CEOs/executives may encounter also varies greatly. Threats may come from mentally unstable individuals, activists, terrorists, disgruntled employees, etc.

In recent years technology based companies such as Amazon and Facebook have spent significantly on CEO security. According to SEC filings, in 2015 Facebook spent $4.26 million on security for CEO Mark Zuckerberg. For security for Jeff Bezos of Amazon the company spent $1.6 million. Oracle spent $1.53 million on CEO Larry Ellison (McCarthy).

CEOs are viewed as extremely valuable to an organization and this value is often the justification for security costs. In a proxy statement in 2013, Oracle wrote of the $1.5 million it spent to protect Ellison, “We require these security measures for Oracle’s benefit because of Mr. Ellison’s importance to Oracle, and we believe these security costs and expenses are appropriate and necessary (Bednarz 2013).”

In particular, CEOs face many threats and risks. A few examples include in 1998, the CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates, had a pie smashed in his face as he walked into a meeting. In 2015, the CEO of Y-12 Federal Credit Union, his wife, his daughter and other employees of the credit union were kidnapped by Michael Benanti. Benanti’s plot involved kidnapping family members and forcing bank employees to rob their own bank. In 2017, CEO Pavel Lerner of Top Crypto Exchange Exmo was kidnapped in the Ukraine. Also in 2017, Alan Joyce CEO of the airline Qantas had a pie smashed in his face during a speaking event.

With the growth of the internet and social media, information about CEO, other executives, high profile individuals and VIPs is readily available. Information such as their home address and speaking engagements may be found on the internet. Locating the information necessary to target a CEO has never been easier. Companies need to continue to consider the measures they will place on the protection of executives, VIPs, high profile individuals, and CEOs.

INA offers various services to help protect CEOs, executives, high profile individuals, and VIPs. These services include:

• Executive Exposure Assessments – These assessments determine what information may be discovered about an executive, VIP, or high profile individual and how this information may be used to harm or threaten that individual. INA analysts attempt to locate information concerning home addresses, personal phone numbers, names of family members, and other pertinent information to identity areas of risk.

• Executive Protection – INA’s security services provides trained and professional executive protection personnel while traveling at events and other times such security is necessary.

• Risk Assessments – INA’s intelligence division conducts assessments of events, meetings, facilities, etc., to determine potential threats and risks.

• Intelligence Monitoring – Identifying and providing insight about potential threats to executives and companies is critical to mitigating risk. INA provides intelligence monitoring programs tailored to the client’s needs in order to assist in risk mitigation.

• Event/Meeting Security – Speaking engagements, conferences, shareholder meetings, and other events require teams of specialized security personnel to ensure the safety of the event and personnel attending. INA has experience managing these types of events and provides comprehensive security to mitigate potential threats.

INA’s staff of trained and professional security, intelligence, and investigative professionals is equipped and able to provide security and risk mitigation efforts for your personnel and organization.

Contact INA today for comprehensive programs to mitigate risk and provide security for you executives, VIPs, and high profile personnel.

Post content by:
Cody Kantner, Director of Risk & Threat Intelligence at INA

Sources:

Bednarz, Ann. “Protection Is a Pricey Perk for Top Tech CEOs.” Network World. June 26, 2013.
Link to article

Lovejoy, Ben. “Apple Spends $700K/year on Keeping CEO Tim Cook Safe – SEC Filing.” 9 TO 5 Mac. August 7, 2015.
Link to article

McCarthy, Kieren. “Why Does It Cost 20 times as Much to Protect Mark Zuckerberg as Tim Cook?” The Register.
Link to article

Security Awareness: INA Helps Protect Students

The horrific events that occurred on Valentine’s Day this year continue to impact the national conscious. On that day, the world heard about the tragedy of a lone gunman entering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and killing 17 individuals. On that day, innocence was cut down by an individual willing to commit unthinkable acts of horror.

Debate continues to rage regarding how to prevent such events in the future. Undoubtedly, there were many failures that occurred on that day and before. Perhaps many things could have been done different. Questions are asked such as:

• Are guns the problem?

• Can legislation prevent this from happening again?

• Are we dealing effectively with mental health?

• Are we doing enough to secure our school?

Although there are many opinions regarding how to best prevent future school shooting, examining school security should be an area considered. While school security is important to consider, there is no all-encompassing security solution. Each school is different and each school should evaluate what measures might work effectively. The objective of school security is not to turn schools into prisons. However, some high schools have several thousand students attending and may not have the security measures necessary to deal with that many individuals. Providing security for that many individuals is a daunting task.

The solution to providing a more secure school ranges from the simple to the complex, from the inexpensive to the costly. Upgrading security is complex and it is not simply a matter of hiring new security guards and purchasing new equipment. School security and security in general involves identifying threats and risks, and preparing to respond to those threats and risks.
Many things can be done to enhance school security:

• Physical security assessments

• Security training

• Security planning

• Policy and procedures created for security situations

• Conducting security exercises

• Security education

Of course, there are other things that can be done to enhance security, including a Security Awareness Program. A Security Awareness Program provides a simple method for educating the students and staff of the importance of security and reporting suspicious behavior. These programs offer an inclusive environment that allows everyone to understand security and allows them to participate in providing a safe and secure environment.

Something as simple as a poster series that raises awareness may be an effective tool for many schools. Good security awareness has as its objective incorporating an understanding of security to employees, staff, students, and anyone who utilizes your facilities. A safe and secure environment is promoted by educating these individuals on simple security practices. These programs keep security in the minds of everyone and encourage the reporting of incidents or strange activity. Ultimately, security awareness allows everyone to take a pro-active role in protecting themselves, friends, families, and staff. A simple security awareness program may go a long way in preventing a tragedy.

INA is a leader in assisting schools with security solutions. INA also offers security awareness posters that are effective in raising security awareness.

Samples of these posters are included below:

INA Security Awareness Poster Sample

Contact INA today for all your security awareness and school security needs.

Analysis of the Lincoln Assassination; Intelligence Analysis is Worth 100,000 Words

It has often been said a picture is worth a thousand words. A photograph can convey significant details about items, individuals, and locations. If one photograph has this much value, imagine the benefits of placing various images and icons into a document and linking them to tell a complex story. INA’s use of intelligence analysis allows complex stories to be told in a simple, yet useful and understandable format.

Often times investigators, lawyers, security professionals, and private citizens have complex problems that need expressing in a concise matter. Large volumes of information may be difficult to understand and difficult to explain. Intelligence analysis provides a method of taking these complex situations and large volumes of data and distilling them into an understandable format.

Information Network Associates (INA) is a premier intelligence analysis and monitoring company. INA’s intelligence analysts have the expertise to take complex problems and distill them into easily understandable presentations and reports. Utilizing specialized analysis products, presentation programs, graphics, and written analysis reports, INA provides clients with superior products that are easy to understand.

Utilizing IBM’s i2 Analyst Notebook, INA analysts create graphic representations of complex cases. While it may take a significant effort to explain information in a lengthy written report, a graphic representation of that information is more easily understood. Our culture is very visual and these types of analytical projects provide the ability to explain cases, threats, and risks in a visual medium.
 

Lincoln Analysis
Lincoln Analysis

Generally, what most people know of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln is that he was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre. This analysis of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln created by INA analysts demonstrates that by utilizing link analysis, complex problems may be easily understood. At a quick glance, the link analysis provides important details of the case, the individuals involved, and the activity that occurred. While generally most people know Booth shot Lincoln, they do not know the type and caliber of weapon used. This analysis project offers that information in a visual format. It is understood Booth shot Lincoln, but how many know Booth also stabbed Major Henry Reed Rathbone who was also in the box with President Lincoln? This one link analysis chart unfolds a complex story of conspiracy, offers information about the conspirators, and delivers details about the efforts of the conspirators to escape justice. The analysis demonstrates how individuals are associated and information about their plot. The more one views the chart, the more the details of the case unfold.

The information this one chart provides could fill numerous reports, articles, and books. That is the power of intelligence analysis; it can make the complex understandable. INA can provide link analysis and other intelligence products to assist with your investigation. These products are useful for private investigators, lawyers, government officials, prosecutors, defense attorneys, corporate investigations, and more.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, an INA intelligence analysis is worth 100,000 words.

Contact INA today for all your intelligence analysis needs.

Post content by:
Cody Kantner, Director of Risk & Threat Intelligence at INA