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THWARTING DISRUPTIVE SOCIAL ACTIVISTS

Affluent families are increasingly targeted by anti-capitalist activists who harness social media to publicize and advance their causes. They use tactics such as organizing protests at private events and even harassing family members at their offices with the intent of their disrupting business operations.

 

When a threat investigation matter for one of our clients turned up some interesting findings, we began an internet threat monitoring program. Drawing on best practices and our arsenal of assessment tools, we quickly identified a dangerous development: A high-profile coalition of militant groups was attacking our client via social media, posting disturbing photos and releasing their work and home contact information. It also planned demonstrations at our client's residence during a fundraiser being attended by prominent guests. Their goals: assembling angry mobs of protesters to physically confront guests, and garnering publicity for a documentary exposé the coalition had helped finance.

 

Armed with advance knowledge of the event and in-depth intelligence on its organizers, tactics and techniques, we quickly launched a comprehensive threat mitigation strategy by mobilizing and coordinating office and residential security staffs, the NYPD, and a cadre of our own security agents. We successfully thwarted the coalition's attempt to disrupt the event and defused a follow-on phone and internet harassment campaign.

 

Takeaways: Forewarned is forearmed. Internet-fueled threats demand aggressively proactive responses. A mitigation strategy must be intelligence driven, integrate state-of-the-art resources and be comprehensive to address physical and operational vulnerabilities. Most importantly, it must be dynamic — constantly evolving to keep pace with the ever-more sophisticated tools disrupters have at their fingertips.