One of HTCIA’s great strengths, and the quality for which it is perhaps best known, is the power of its network. Whether in public or private sector, members know that they can call on one another whenever they need assistance – or when they think they can help their colleagues.
Executive Secretary Art Bowker had this experience recently. Reading a news article about cybercrime, Bowker noticed a comment made following the article was not, technically, a response.
Instead, the poster – apparently a woman – described being jilted by a vice president in a large and well-known corporation. Searching on the username attached to the comment, Bowker found multiple other comments on other news sites. Several of them mentioned that the commenter was thinking of suicide every day.
“To me it seemed like someone had a lot of anger [and was] expressing it on the Internet,” he says. “As it appeared numerous times, I took some screen shots and looked up HTCIA members who worked at the corporation to alert them.”
Located in Ohio, far from the company’s headquarters, Bowker had never communicated with these particular members before. But the company’s security intelligence analysis team manager responded.
“They were apparently unaware this was going on, and had been for about six months,” says Bowker.
From networking to security education
“I think in this day and age, companies should be putting alerts on themselves out there,” says Bowker, “preferably rather complicated ones beyond just their name. If a person can go on any news site and post a comment, the company needs to be aware of it – particularly if those comments get worse… threatening, etc.
“This person could actually show up at their door and shoot someone, and hindsight would show they had been posting all over the place their thoughts, including on suicide. This shows companies what they need to do to protect themselves.”
To Bowker, who has been an HTCIA member for 10 years, this case wasn’t just about members coming together to stop a security incident or help someone in need. It also means that the members he contacted are in a better position to educate 1) the C-suite on the need for social media monitoring, and 2) other employees – and HTCIA members in their own community – on how to respond if they ever see or hear something among themselves.
“It is about knowledge sharing, about techniques as well as dangers, with our members and obviously the public. Thank goodness we had HTCIA members from this company, as I would have spent time trying to find out whom to advise about it,” Bowker says.
Image: Ella’s Dad via Flickr