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On SecurityApr 14, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
When an Economic Crisis Collides With an Unprecedented Espionage Threat
I've seen a number of news reports discussing how the lockdowns and travel bans resulting from COVID-19 are hindering the ability of intelligence officers to do their jobs by preventing them from being able to conduct in-person source meets. The inability to conduct face-to-face source meets, and to make personal contact with recruitment targets to develop relationships with them, is a valid concern. I would like to suggest, however, that the economic crisis resulting from COVID-19 will also provide intelligence officers a golden opportunity to spot and recruit new agents.
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On SecurityFeb 25, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The Miami skyline, photographed on April 29, 2019.
Signs of a Thwarted Russian Hit in Miami
Since former KGB officer and FSB director Vladimir Putin became Russia's president, the country's intelligence agencies have regained much of their Cold War power. As Putin's power has grown, his intelligence services have grown commensurately bolder. Though the Kremlin invariably will try to deny any role in or knowledge of assassinations and other skulduggery, for the most part, the operations are overt or only very thinly veiled.
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On SecurityDec 3, 2019 | 12:15 GMT
A corporate surveillance team examines security footage of an office entrance.
Your Company’s Data Could Be Most at Risk in the Places You Least Expect
When asked why he robbed banks by a reporter, the notorious robber Willie Sutton apocryphally retorted "because that's where the money is." Sutton later denied having made this remark. But regardless of who (or if) anyone said it, the quote nevertheless highlights a fundamental truth of crime: criminals will select a target that has the item(s) they wish to steal. This same principle also holds true for corporate espionage. Your company's secrets are a target wherever they reside, including (and perhaps especially) in locations assumed to be less at-risk. Because of this, it's important to understand that espionage is a truly global and multifaceted threat -- and requires security programs equally robust in nature and scope to protect sensitive information from malicious actors.
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PodcastsNov 18, 2019 | 17:18 GMT
'The Dry Cleaner' With Filmmaker Chris Carr
For a British intelligence officer named George, time is ticking to convince a Middle Eastern student to spy on a revolutionary group at her school that he believes is connected to a global terrorist organization. But will she lead him to the fire, or will he end up getting burned instead? That's the premise of "The Dry Cleaner," a new short film from the London-based writer and director Chris Carr. In this episode, Stratfor's Fred Burton speaks with Carr about how the story stacks up to his own experience as a counterterrorism agent with the U.S. State Department, and the great lengths spies often go through to ensure their sources aren't being tailed by someone who could jeopardize their operation.
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On SecurityJul 2, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
In the same way that companies use LinkedIn to spot and recruit talent, intelligence agencies use it to spot and recruit spies.
Espionage and LinkedIn: How Not to Be Recruited As a Spy
The risk that hostile intelligence services will use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool has been widely reported. One such report, by Mika Aaltola at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs published in June 2019, focused on Chinese activity on LinkedIn. The phenomenon is not, however, confined to Chinese intelligence operations. All intelligence agencies exploit the platform, something illustrated by the Iranian-linked hack of Deloitte in which LinkedIn was used to set a virtual honey trap. Even so, the number of reported cases attributed to the Chinese -- including cases I've written on like that of former intelligence officers such as Kevin Mallory, or corporate espionage cases such as one involving an engineer at GE Aviation -- suggest their intelligence services are among the most active and aggressive users of LinkedIn as a recruitment tool. And this makes mitigating the threat critical, whether on LinkedIn or any other social media platform.
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On SecurityNov 27, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Police examine a body on a street in Melbourne on Nov. 9, 2018. A man was shot by police after setting his car on fire and stabbing three people, killing one. The man was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital in critical condition.
How To Protect Against Simple Attacks
No attack arises out of a vacuum. Rather, they are the result of a process that can be detected by a watchful eye. Situational awareness and effective preparation are often your best tools to not only protect yourself in dangerous situations, but to ensure you and your loved ones avoid some of the most common threats altogether. In an era when attacks with cars, knives, guns and even online information have become commonplace, Stratfor has worked to provide the information you need to stay one step ahead.
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On SecurityOct 2, 2018 | 09:05 GMT
A photomontage shows a businessman against a backdrop depicting the digital age.
Why Understanding Is Key to Thwarting Social Media Threats
How times change. Thirty years ago, the task of recruiting someone for intelligence purposes involved a lot of legwork and a lot of vulnerability for the operative. Now the process is a whole lot simpler thanks to the internet and, more importantly, the ubiquity of social media. These two topics -- intelligence and social media -- were front and center last week at the ASIS Global Security Exchange in Las Vegas, where I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion on how social media is affecting threat intelligence. In an age when social media is so pervasive, protecting oneself or one's organization requires a total understanding of how such platforms can be used for attack. Only then is it possible to mount a defense.
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AssessmentsJun 22, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Russian riot police restrain a protester at a demonstration in Moscow in May over the Kremlin's decision to ban the messaging app Telegram.
Bending the Internet: Russia Catches Up on Internet Control
Russian President Vladimir Putin's view of the internet has evolved alongside the internet itself. When Putin first came to power at the turn of the century, Russian cyberspace was the Wild West. He didn't try to exert much control over it for the first decade of his rule, and a class of highly proficient programmers and hackers emerged and flourished in the largely lawless environment. But after a string of Western-supported uprisings in nearby former Soviet states, and a wave of mass protests in Russia after the 2011 elections, Putin's perception of the internet changed. In the years since, the Kremlin has been vigilant in monitoring domestic internet use, using some of the same strategies that Iran and China favor.
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On SecurityMar 20, 2018 | 08:00 GMT
At a newsstand in Moscow, a paper announces Russian President Vladimir Putin's re-election.
To Russia With Caution
Just when it looks like relations between Russia and the West have hit rock bottom, they manage to reach a new low. It's a pattern we've been tracking for the last decade as Russia's security services have grown more aggressive in their tactics. And sure enough, tensions have flared once again following the attack on Col. Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who, along with his daughter, was poisoned with a rare nerve agent in London on March 4. The British government has since announced that the nerve agent used in the attack was a novichok, Russian for "newcomer" -- a substance Russia's chemical weapons program reportedly developed to bypass the restrictions of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Moscow signed in 1993. After the novichok revelation, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion from London of 23 Russian diplomats believed to be intelligence officers. The British
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On SecurityJan 4, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Predators stalk the internet and social media channels looking for easy targets.
To Stay Safe on the Internet, Don't Stand Out From the Herd
While I've written about the dangers of making oneself a target on social media before, two cases -- one in the United States and one in Germany -- had me thinking about the intersection of the internet and the attack cycle -- or attack cycles really, because there is a difference between being targeted by criminals, terrorists and hostile intelligence officers -- as well as the variety of operations these malefactors are capable of.
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On SecuritySep 7, 2017 | 10:50 GMT
The CEO of a technology company caught a suspected Chinese agent trying to hack the computer network from inside the building.
A Botched Black Bag Job Reveals the Long Arm of Chinese Intelligence
The Chinese government has a sophisticated human intelligence capability, which is quite capable of recruiting company employees using cash, sex or other approaches. This human intelligence capability is used not only against government targets, but also against commercial targets that have information or technology that the Chinese government deems is critical to the country's military and economic goals. Companies need to prepare their employees for these human intelligence approaches.
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ReflectionsDec 30, 2016 | 00:24 GMT
Hacking Sanctions Are More a Symbol Than a Threat
President Barack Obama's administration today imposed a series of punitive measures against Russia for its purported interference in the 2016 presidential election campaign -- measures Russia apparently had anticipated well before the U.S. government publicly unveiled allegations of a campaign of computer hacking and disinformation aimed at steering election results. While the penalties are high-profile, and will draw Kremlin retaliation, their effects will be limited mostly to symbolism.
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