Executives, while leading efforts to secure a company’s digital assets, can often be an organization’s weakest security link. A comprehensive cybersecurity program isn’t complete without an Executive Protection Solution in place. Hackers are active – on public forums and professional platforms, scalping emails and sending text messages – and are out to get the most bang for their buck.
These kinds of attacks can be a spear-phishing email campaign, your CEO’s hacked LinkedIn account, a falsified job ad on Indeed, or a BEC scam. Essentially, they could be any tactic that exploits C-level executives to inflict more damage on your organization. This frequently entails compromising the accounts, security, or reputation of an enterprise’s C-Suite, leading to potential financial losses, erosion of brand and reputation, and possibly diminishing trust in governmental institutions. For instance, imagine the implications if the SEC chairman appeared to endorse a Bitcoin scam on Twitter!
An Executive Protection Solution identifies potential executive threats, neutralizes them promptly, and fortifies defenses against future risks. A well-established Executive Protection program consists of the following key components:
1. Threat Intelligence and Monitoring Capabilities
You can’t block what you don’t understand. Before you can wrangle the scope of your program, you first need to understand the threats.
ZeroFox not only knows the data; it knows how to respond to it. Per our platform data, 60% of VIPs have data for sale on underground marketplaces, and the twelve months between 2021 and 2022 saw a remarkable 26.2% increase in executive impersonations.
And that’s just scratching the surface. Any good executive protection strategy starts with threat intelligence, brought about by autonomous and expert-driven monitoring capabilities. We combine deep learning, dark ops agents, AI, and more to access massive online datasets and plumb the dark web for signs of your stolen information. This also includes attacks in progress, like executive-targeting phishing campaigns. You need an on-demand, searchable threat data foundation for maximum defensive leverage.
2. Digital Risk Protection and Privacy Safeguards
Even within your network, your data might not be secure, especially when available on external-facing applications and the public internet.That’s where Digital Risk Protection (DRP) comes into play. DRP secures your company’s valuable digital assets beyond the rehttps://www.zerofox.com/glossary/attack-surface/ach of the internal security perimeter.
As your VIPs post on job sites like Indeed, professional platforms like LinkedIn, or engage with other online services, the data they share can and often is used against them. Criminal hackers masquerading as a (spoofed) political Twitter account or an interested colleague can con unsuspecting users into giving away just the right information, executives not excluded.
DRP helps SecOps teams detect, expose and disrupt cyber threats that originate beyond the organization’s security reach. These are things that exist in the ‘wild west’ of internet forums, the deep or dark web, or anywhere outside of a network.
3. Physical Security and Location Monitoring
A little-known fact is that attackers can also target executives beyond the digital realm, putting them at physical risk.
Real-world events need to be parsed out through the lens of social media platforms, online news agencies, and the surface and dark web. That can be hard to do. However, with over 12,000 kidnap-for-ransom events occurring every year and over $200M in daily losses due to weather disasters, the risks of not knowing are high. Executives and team members alike are vulnerable via the online avenues they frequent, and monitoring is necessary to provide early warning of ominous online rumblings.
However, the sheer volume of information available on those platforms is overwhelming and must be evaluated quickly to provide any real value. Without a dedicated force, the task is next to impossible for strapped SecOps teams alone.
Physical Security Intelligence sifts data from disparate digital sources, bringing the relevant data to the forefront to arm you against impending attacks in the physical world. Physical and Event Threat Protection gives you the 360-degree awareness you need to stop inbound and outbound risks and prevent physical loss.
4. Automated Takedown Remediation
What is a takedown? It is the forcible removal of any malicious activities and content centering around your organization’s data. What it looks like is taking down fake Reddit accounts, social posts, instances of stolen credential sheets on dark web forums, and so on. The coverage extends from desktop social media to mobile app stores and fake domains.
In the past several years, data broker sites have become increasingly common online. These sites sell information including phone numbers, email addresses, and even home addresses. In order to keep executives’ safe from targeted digital and physical attacks, monitoring for leaked PII on these data broker sites is critical. Working with a provider like ZeroFox to have leaked PII removed from data broker sites will save your security team time and ensure executive information is secure.
Also known as Adversary Disruption, automated takedown remediation utilizes advanced attack architectures to make you the lion, not the gazelle. Quickly deploy malicious attacks of your own (in large numbers) across the web, social platforms, mobile apps, and more to prevent the exposure of sensitive PII and company data.
It’s one thing to be on the defensive. However, given today’s aggressive threat climate, an offensive option is necessary for any well-rounded Executive Protection plan.
5. AI and Integration with Threat Intelligence and Incident Response
There are too many threats for one SOC to handle alone, even with best-in-class technology. AI-driven external cybersecurity tools, integrated with threat intelligence and response capabilities, are changing the game for teams who couldn’t previously catch up.
Artificial Intelligence security tools use machine learning algorithms, large datasets, and deep neural networks to simulate the rationality needed to catch a criminal.
ZeroFox’s recently announced generative AI capabilities enable even further extension of external, executive-targeting threat hunting techniques and more autonomous possibilities for incident response.
FoxGPT uses AI to more quickly identify threats to executives in the wild, detect zero-day threats with no known malware signature, comprehensively monitor the organization’s entire attack surface, and respond to threats in real time.
As VIPs continue to face threats on the public attack surface, ZeroFox empowers organizations to proactively defend and counteract. With both offensive and defensive tools from ZeroFox Executive Protection, enterprises can drastically reduce risks in both the physical and digital worlds, defending executives’ digital footprints step by step and clearing the road so they can contribute and scale safely. To learn more, check out ZeroFox’s report on the Changing Threat Landscape of Executive Protection.