In today’s climate of global political unrest, racial tension, and division around Covid-19 beliefs and policies, it’s easy to find someone who disagrees with your opinion. And unfortunately, the availability of online outlets for stating our views also contributes to rising volatility, resentment, and dangerous behavior.
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, businesses must be vigilant about protecting their executives from doxxing and other dangerous cybercrime. Unfortunately, many CEOs and other high-level executives are targets for criminals because of the sensitive information that attackers can readily access. The good news is employers can take steps to protect their executives from becoming victims of cybercrime. This article explores the best ways to safeguard your organization's most valuable assets.
Leaders in businesses of all sizes and across industries are voicing concerns about increasing threats.
According to Ontic’s 2022 State of Protective Intelligence Report, 88% of respondents have seen dramatic increases in physical threat behavior over the last couple of years. Eighty-seven percent believe these will grow to unmanageable levels this year.
Between 2003 and 2021, another recent Ontic report about the safety of executives documented 206 physical and online attacks on company executives, with a majority in the Americas. Incidents included kidnappings, shootings, impersonation, account hacking, cyberstalking, and threats, so it's no wonder that business executives are worried about being targeted.
In 44% of the cases, executives were attacked at their primary residence. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know precisely how assailants obtained addresses. But there are many cases where executives, journalists, celebrities, and other high-profile individuals are targets because their private information is revealed online, otherwise known as doxxing.
While 69% of the CEOs who were doxxed in the Ontic report were male, this may be because males represent a higher share of leadership positions. In other areas, such as journalism, doxxing affects women and individuals in marginalized groups at much higher rates than men. In industries typically dominated by white men, such as sports reporting, gaming, and political activism, harassment has been especially intense.
Often, doxxers reveal sensitive information online and encourage others to use it maliciously to gain revenge, shame or silence the victim, or even cause personal harm. Doxxing can lead to behaviors like:
For victims, doxxing can be devastating. In many cases, the resulting harassment can lead to:
Sadly, people don’t believe their workplace or law enforcement will take doxxing and its effects seriously, so it often goes unreported.
When you take steps to protect your executives’ personal information, your company may avoid phishing scams and social engineering attacks. As a result, you’ll protect your company and your executives' reputations and minimize regulatory challenges. In addition, you’ll boost employee morale and maintain customer loyalty.
Proactive solutions provide more benefits to all stakeholders than reactive responses. Here are some tips to reduce doxxing and other threats against your executives and employees:
Fortunately, some laws are changing. Several states have introduced legislation to criminalize doxxing and related behaviors. Social media platforms like Facebook are also changing their policies to disallow the practice and make it easier for victims to have sensitive information removed.
As we have seen, top executives are at risk when their personal information is revealed online, jeopardizing them, their families, and your organization. While some companies are starting to take action, more needs to be done to reduce the risk and protect these individuals.
Threat management platforms build confidence and boost morale within an organization and help keep your executives safe from harm. While no measure is 100% effective, PrivacyBrain can help your organization remove personal data from public view and keep your team safe.