We cast our eye over the main stories impacting the security industry. Here’s what’s appeared on the radar since the last issue.
It often comes as a surprise just how much is available and the nefarious uses it can be put to. OSINT can be applied towards defensive purposes, but this article will only be covering the malicious purposes (i.e. how a bad guy might get access to your client’s sensitive information and data).
One of the biggest challenges of OSINT is not merely recognising it as a threat, but encouraging the behavioural change needed to protect against it widely enough. It is not simply enough for a principal to stop posting Instagram pictures of their travels in order to hide them. Their colleagues, friends, family, and employees also need to be aware and cautious with information which could be misused.
Throughout my nine years of experience in the Executive Protection (EP) industry, I’d like to think that I’ve achieved many significant accomplishments.
Having traveled to over 30 countries, building executive protection and estate teams, embarking on 10 major worldwide tours and transitioning from field agent to Director of Security. Despite my successes, I’ve still felt like a student at best, but now finally considering myself a Specialist. Naively, many young protectors are eager to consider themselves “specialists” without undergoing the proper mentorship and gaining the practical experience needed to hold this title.
They are only of limited relevance today, but as the technologies involved become more widespread and implemented into every facet of life they will only become more prevalent. While it sounds like the stuff of science fiction, these threats exist now and are not going to go away.
For simplicity, we’ll say that a ‘smart’ device is anything which connects to the internet (or a network) and is not intended to be a computer interface. Intended is the key word there, as many of these devices are insecure for the simple reason that they are a computer. The problem is that it is now cheaper and easier to put a general purpose computer into a device and run some software to, for example, turn lights on and off than it is to design a single-purpose lightbulb which also connects to a network.
Being an instructor for Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute has forwarded the opportunity to observe how a large section of professionals interact and function from different niches of the industry. Military, transnational EP teams, US based teams, Federal LEO’s or with civilians this theme shows through. Even in the larger training arena the change can be seen as more of the schools are starting to focus on classes or blocks of instruction such as client management and behavioral analysis. The discussion forms are flooded with conversations relating to how to work in a team dynamic. It doesn’t matter if its a 28 day school or a three day school, they will be touching on and teaching these topics.
It’s not unusual for practitioners of our craft to find themselves operating as a “solo specialists” alongside their respective clients. The question is, are these days slowly coming to an end? If they are, how will we be able to convey this to our clients?
My transition was a tricky one. Coming from a field where we are trained to address crime once it happens, mentally it leaves you in response mode. EP is very proactive, as such, we must anticipate what could happen and work to mitigate that. Also, as an Law Enforcement Officer, you have control over almost every situation that you’re in. The law gives you that authority and that luxury. In Executive Protection, not so much. So there’s another shift in mindset that one must have. As an EP professional you don’t have the same authority that LEO’s have, so you can’t bark out commands, stop traffic, block public access, etc., as such, the transition was tricky. The best way I can describe it is, not difficult but also, not “easy,” so to speak.
On the morning of April 30th, 2019 Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó seemed to attempt a coup d’état against the communist government of Nicolás Maduro.
I use the word ‘seemed’ as what occurred can be best described as a publicity stunt more than an actual coup d’état. For the remainder of the day, even those that thought they knew what was going on in Venezuela, really, had no idea what was going on. While social media and the news channels were touting a revolution in Caracas, life went on as normal on the military bases and for the rest of Venezuela. Guaidó’s attempted overthrow was mostly just another demonstration that is all too common in Caracas.
By now many of you have seen the recent photo of the Dallas shooter outside of the Federal Building. Ask yourself if this was your Office, School, or House of Worship how prepared would your company or institution be to recognize the signs of trouble as those Federal Officers did and deny access and ultimately defeat the shooter?
Think that sounds a bit cynical? Well, perhaps you’re right, but having been in the industry for over 30 years, and with a ‘Rock Star family’ as my current employers, it’s incredible how many times I’m reminded of this mantra and the virtues of following it. Maybe it’s just being in and around the music business, but I think everyone can take something away from this approach.
What are some traits and soft skills that you have acquired from working in inner city Philadelphia that has helped you In your line of work today?
I think the number one skill I’ve learned was the ability to talk to people to get the desired outcome. In the streets, you have to have the skillset to deescalate a deadly confrontation or you have to be able to get information from an individual who never intends to speak to you. That skill does not come overnight, and there’s a lot of trial and error, but the truth of the matter is, it’s all predicated on respect for the other individual. Also, being intentional and understanding what’s at stake are major factors for success.
An excerpt from the best-selling book, An Introduction to Celebrity Protection & Touring by Elijah Shaw & Dale June. To get the full book, order at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles or Ebooks.com. Limited Signed Editions available at www.ArmsLengthAway.com
Almost without question, if you are a musician, the recording process is the part you love. This is where they get to be creative; it’s where they take an abstract concept and make it a sonic work of art, one that hopefully will generate revenue. While it can be hard work for the artists, for most it’s a labor of love. They have the ability to get paid and earn a living for doing what they enjoy most.
Many newcomers in the protection business have a completely different idea of what the profession is, based on what they have heard or what Hollywood tells them it is. This lack of “truth” either leaves them disappointed or leaves them vulnerable to making mistakes while on duty.
It is common in our industry to see many of our colleagues posting pictures on the internet social media sites of “selfies” taken in first-class airline seats or the client’s private jet. More selfies show them with their feet up on a suitcase claiming ‘’another flight”, or posting from 5 and 6-star hotel rooms, or fine-dining restaurants, or next to a limousine parked in front of a private jet.
Some readers may have guessed at the participants in the above scenario or even been a part of such a detail in the past. No matter what, it’s plain to see that helicopters are an amazing tool to have at your disposal for your motorcade movements. They can advance the route in real time from a bird’s eye view, which is a great way to go from the known to the known with a good idea of the terrain you will be encountering.
However, the truth is, the simulated communications you just read were not with a helicopter, but instead were between an Executive Protection team, and it’s FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Licensed and experienced UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Pilot. Executive Protection is evolving every day, and one of the areas out front is technology. Developing are new forms of detection, tactical hearing and visual aids, vehicle security and transport, radio systems, and now UAV’S.
Before you build your company’s or personal brand lets first take a moment to reconcile what branding is and how it differs from marketing. Branding is the process involved in creating a unique name and/or image for a product or service in the mind of the consumer. The goal of “Branding” is to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. What differentiated message have you created in the mind of your desired clientele?
In the previous instalments of this ongoing series, we discussed the challenges faced by Protectors who work with entertainers that spend at least some portions of their career involved in stage performances.
The tabloid said it had evidence that Bezos has been “whisking his mistress off to exotic destinations on his $65 million private jet.
“Jeff Bezos is the founder of the online retailer Amazon and one of the richest people in the world. He has just made public that he will be getting divorced from his wife of 25 years after an extra marital affair was made public, that’s his personal business… The divorce could cost him 50% of his wealth including his stocks in Amazon, which could lead to control issues for the company and shareholders, this is company business… Again, someone’s personal life has gotten them and their company into big trouble!
Consider this, when broken down to its most basic components, the vast majority of traditional self-defence courses only teach defensive responses to an attack once it has begun.
I am of the opinion that’s not only a bit late, it’s also certainly not enough to survive a Mass Casualty Event in these days and times. In light of that, I have found that Reality-Based Self Defence (RBSD) systems take things a bit further by teaching pre-fight tactics such as: creating safe distance; using non-aggressive body language; reading pre-fight indicators; and applying verbal de-escalation techniques. Yet all of that is still not enough to effectively survive a terrorist attack in a public space, especially if you’re with family or friends.
The “workout” is only a part of the overall Physical Fitness picture. Give or take 8 hours a day for sleeping, that leaves 16 waking hours that require physical activity. I use the word “require” because if we want to stay active for the long game, then it really isn’t an option and it must be a priority. This is where I feel the missing link is for most people, a basic understanding of true Physical Fitness and how to apply it to everyday living without just viewing it as a workout period.
We cast our eye over the main stories impacting the security industry, including, Kanye West’s former bodyguard is calling the rapper a “bully” and is threatening to sue for damages after West accused him of breaking a confidentiality agreement.