When we do threat assessments for high net worth clients they include looking at physical layouts of all locations, best use of technology, transit routes and procedures, security SOPs and staff backgrounds. We also always do a thorough hunt through social media and open internet sources. These provide a treasure trove of information that any good adversary would surely use.
Kim Kardashian’s robbery at gun point in Paris this week has been blamed on, in part, her ubiquitous presence on social media. As her fortune seems to depend on her being in harsh limelight 24/7, Kim’s is a special case. Nonetheless, for us peasants who don’t have 20 karat diamond rings to flaunt, stalking and unwanted attention can still be a problem.
Twitter, Instagram, Ways, Tinder, Yelp to say nothing of Facebook are not only store houses of revealing information about a person, the apps also can track location. No need to mention that you’re having a great time on the beach in Fiji to a would-be burglar, your app may well already be broadcasting that fact. Know what the vulnerabilities of your social media life are and make sure you are comfortable with the balance between risk and public sharing.
Another point to come out of the Kardashian breach is that security is by its nature imperfect. It is literally a case of a moving target. Adversaries are creative and constantly on the lookout for a loophole, a way in. For a security team, there are multiple elements to consider and these elements are always changing.
Perhaps Kim’s Instagram and tweets provoked a criminal gang to act but really, the fact that she is wealthy and travels with valuables is already known and could be surmised, absent social media.
There were reports of strange men dressed in suits following her in a car and on a motorcycle. Well, there are flocks of men following her everywhere she goes, all the time. That one of them might be using the cover of paparazzi to gather intelligence is possible. Can her security team vet each member of every crowd all the time? Not going to happen.
Having strangers in close physical proximity is a given for a recognizable celebrity and in this case one whose business is being recognized. The lack of a physical buffer makes for a huge security challenge. Paparazzi prankster Vitalii Sediuk is known for physically harassing celebrities and is an example of how easy it is to make contact.
Does Kim’s security team have a set procedure for every possible scenario, including forced entry into a premises be it at a home or while traveling? If they didn’t, I’m guessing they do now.
Many believe it was an inside job. Given the short windows of opportunity when Ms. Kardashian was alone over the course of her stay in Paris, and the very few people who knew when she was alone, it’s a solid guess.
In sum, there are always multiple possible breach points – intelligence, cover stories, procedures, insider threat, and more. The security challenge is to continually check all of them, and from the adversary’s point of view.