Digital risk protection is the act of using tools, technology, and industry expertise to track varied data sources for actionable threats against you or your business’s digital footprint.
As cyber threats and damaging online content continue to increase, we at Minc Law felt it was a top priority to help individuals and businesses sleep better at night, knowing their online reputations are being monitored and protected. So we developed a robust digital risk protection service and solution to scan, identify, and eliminate digital threats on the web.
In this post, we will cover:
- What digital risk is,
- The digital risk protection process and how it works,
- How to implement digital risk protection services, and
- How to find the right digital risk protection software for you.
What is the Digital Risk Protection Process?
It can be difficult to put into perspective your digital footprint and all that you have to gain (and lose) by using social media platforms, email, and the internet as a whole.
In a 2019 Juniper study on emerging cybersecurity threats, Juniper estimated that cybercriminals will steal 33 billion records in 2023. And more than half of all global data breaches are expected to occur in the United States.
That number does not account for pandemic-related digital acceleration since the study took place. There has been a nearly a massive increase in phishing attempts, identity theft, sextortion, scams, and other cyber attacks since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zohar Pinhasi, a cyber counter-terrorism expert and founder of the cybersecurity firm MonsterCloud, reports that ransomware attacks are up 800% since the beginning of the pandemic. It is now more important than ever to implement a comprehensive digital risk protection strategy and these precise threats.
So, What is Digital Risk Protection?
Digital risk is unwanted – and often unexpected – online threats against you or your brand, company, or assets.
Digital risk protection is a comprehensive strategy that uses online tools and services to mitigate and protect against your digital risk.
Although they can sound similar, digital risk protection is not the same as reputation management.
|Digital Risk Protection||Reputation Management|
|Digital risk protection identifies a robust digital profile for the entity or individual that you are trying to protect. This profile is then used to cast a wide net and begin monitoring for digital risk on behalf of a client. Risk protection services monitor data sources and platforms like social media, blogs, and forums – as well as the dark corners of the web.||Reputation management is the process of generating alerts for specific phrases or brand recognition. It implements technology and tools without getting to know you or your business’s entire digital exposure and story.|
It is helpful to think of digital risk protection as a security system. An expert evaluates the assets you want to protect, identifies weak points to trigger alarms upon intrusion, and then installs sensors to notify the property owners of a problem. Digital risk protection is no different, but instead of your house, we are protecting your digital assets and reputation.
Digital risk protection is also about having a plan of action in place to respond quickly and to be able to remediate any harm quickly when there is a digital threat or attack against you or your business.
Individuals and businesses need to understand both the importance of monitoring/identifying threats AND being able to remedy them in a timely manner.
Managing your digital footprint also requires an understanding of the value of the technology and platforms being used and a level of comfort that the best tech is furthering your protection goals.
Who Needs Digital Risk Protection?
The core types of individuals and businesses that should explore utilizing digital protection services include:
- Individuals or businesses who have an active and visible internet presence,
- Individuals or businesses who have been previously defamed or threatened on the internet,
- Individuals or businesses that have ever been targets of identity theft or cyberattacks,
- Individuals or businesses that have people in their network that have been targeted by online attacks, and
- Individuals or businesses with a valuable brand or intellectual property to protect.
If you or your company have been the target of a digital threat, impersonation, or attack, you should find a digital risk protection service to help create a risk protection and mitigation plan as soon as possible.
The need for Digital risk protection is no different than deciding when to purchase a home security system. When a break-in happens to a friend, family, loved one, or neighbor on your street, your chances of also facing a break-in increase.
Likewise, if you have had a “break-in” or been attacked online, it is important to act quickly to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future and to monitor your cyber risk to ensure it does not happen again.
If you have been the victim of online harassment or defamation, we strongly recommend maintaining at least 12 months of digital risk protection after the incident to ensure the matter is addressed and does not crop up again.
If you rely on your brand and are very active online, we recommend you protect that brand by using a digital risk protection service. And make sure to pick one that will cast the widest net possible to monitor and identify any threats, while also providing the expertise to remediate attacks when they do occur.
People and businesses with a public online brand are at a higher risk for digital threats because of their online activity and presence. The more you use and rely on digital platforms, the more information digital assets you have that are vulnerable to attack, and the more you are at risk.
The higher the following and the louder the brand voice you have, the more visible and at risk for being attacked you are – and the more your brand has to lose.
As dependency on the digital space increases, so do attempts of extortion, impersonation, and financial ruin. Digital risk protection is the perfect solution to identify and monitor the noise around your profile and remediate the attacks when they do occur.
How Can You Get Digital Risk Protection?
There are many platforms available for digital risk protection. Some are limited to social media monitoring. Others are focused on cyber threat intelligence and identifying these threats proactively.
Threat intelligence platforms commonly focus on:
- Brand impersonations,
- Sensitive data leakage,
- Social media threats,
- Account takeovers,
- Other digital risks based on monitored data sources.
But another aspect of a digital risk protection service, which is truly the most important, is remediation – or how to eliminate the threats when they happen.
Most digital risk protection solutions on the market today do not have remediation services. Minc Law’s digital risk protection service does. That is why it is advisable to work with a legal team like Minc Law for full digital risk management protection that includes monitoring and remediation.
How Digital Risk Protection Works
In order to defeat threats and digital risk, having an effective and scalable digital risk protection service in place is critical. Keep in mind when evaluating your options, that there are four foundations to any successful threat intelligence mitigation strategy:
- Detection – Leveraging a combination of advanced AI in partnership with expert search analysts – a two tier approach to threat detection allows intelligence tools and providers to generate actionable alerts for individuals and businesses.
- Analysis – Obtaining and analyzing data is critical for assessing and prioritizing digital threats. Comprehensive threat intelligence platforms analyze and react to threats in real-time to improve chances of managing and remediating threats to your or your business’s reputation.
- Optimization – It is critical to perform an initial digital footprint audit when first enlisting a DRP service. Continuously updating your digital assets, assessing alerts, and expanding your digital footprint enables threat intelligence tools and platforms to optimize their processes and cast the widest net possible in terms of monitoring and identifying relevant and actionable alerts.
- Disruption – Sound threat intelligence tools and platforms determine the most appropriate remediation options to stop harmful online activity. In some cases, remediation is the best course of action to resolve your internet issue. Other times, tools and strategies such as content suppression may be needed. Each threat should be handled on a case by case situation
There are many types of threats you can face when using the internet. But some of the more prevalent ones have to do with social media risk or private personal information risk. Digital risk protection utilizes both AI-driven analysis and 24/7 monitoring to identify and eliminate the following types of threats:
Online impersonation is common, especially for those who have a social media presence. Falling victim to impersonation does not require you to have a significant following. An impersonation occurs when an account is created on a social media platform without your knowledge or consent. It will often appear as though it is legitimate.
Impersonations often happen over many platforms, whether or not you as a business or individual are active on those platforms.
Sextortion is defined as sexual exploitation with the intent to coerce in an abuse of power. Sextortion primarily occurs online. It also typically involves nonphysical forms of coercion, such as internet blackmail.
Phishing attacks are typically used to steal users’ sensitive data. This data includes login credentials, credit card numbers, and social security information.
Phishing occurs when an attacker masks themselves as a trusted entity, organization, or individual. They trick you into opening an email, instant message, text message, or another form of communication through the internet. Their intention is to trick you into taking an action or giving them personal details. Phishing attacks can have devastating results for individuals and businesses.
Malware attacks occur when an attacker or cybercriminal creates malicious software to access information, damage the device for financial gain, or blackmail you. This software is installed on your device without your knowledge or permission. Ransomware is also categorized as a malware attack.
Confidential Information Leakage
Cyberattacks expose confidential information to an unauthorized party. Data leaks happen in today’s world at an alarming rate. And they have grown exponentially due to pandemic-related increases in digital resource usage.
It is critical to make sure you understand your data vulnerabilities – and if a data leak occurs, you have a way to be notified before it is too late.
Account Hacking & Targeted Attacks
Scammers love to hack your account, and they typically start with your email. From there, they access your bank accounts, social media, and other places you are present online.
Account hackers can steal your personal information from the internet and cause damage to you. This damage can be personal, professional, and digital.
Piracy & Counterfeit Goods
Piracy is the unauthorized imitation of a branded good. Counterfeiting is done by making an unauthorized copy of a product or good with damaging implications.
Digital risk protection can also address the following cybersecurity vulnerabilities:
- Location and event protection – Offices, facilities, and events that need to be secured from threats. Alerts should be delivered in real-time;
- Deep and dark web protection – Information leakage and credential compromises shared on deep websites and chat rooms;
- Web and domain scamming – Purchase and use of a domain name with the intent to profit from someone else’s trademark or brand identity. This is otherwise known as cybersquatting;
- Personally identifiable information (PII) – Data that could potentially identify an individual;
- Information leakage – Sensitive information that may be leaked online.
Legal and technological solutions should also form part of your risk protection remediation strategy. Attorneys experienced in risk management can perform remediation services. These services involve eliminating a threat after it has affected you.
Remediation can be done in a few different ways, depending on the situation. It may or may not be critical to determine the identity of the perpetrator, for instance. And sometimes, remediation simply requires a takedown service or if further legal services are needed. The key is having something in place to respond quickly that gives options and resources to fight back.
Minc Law Tip: Takedown services will be appropriate when a digital threat is a very clear violation of terms of service on a social media platform. If you are considering hiring Minc Law for a takedown request, keep in mind that it will help us if you provide a valid form of ID as part of your request. By way of example, if someone creates an impersonation account on Facebook with your photo, and we can prove to Facebook your real identity with a valid form of DI, that is a clear violation of their TOS and can use a takedown.
How to Implement Digital Risk Protection on Social Media Channels
When starting a digital risk management strategy, the first step is to identify your digital profile, digital assets, and what is at risk. Start by conducting a full audit of:
- What types of content and information you store online,
- The places online where you engage in any activity,
- The online accounts or places where you have an online presence (voluntarily or involuntarily),
- A list of all websites accounts with usernames and passwords.
Once complete, evaluate all the digital risk protection service options available. Choose a service that helps monitor, identify, and eliminate threats through remediation services.
If you are only able to choose a service that monitors and/or identifies potential threats, that is a great start. But keep in mind that it does not come with actionable steps to remediate, remove, or address the threat once it happens.
What Steps Should You Take Before Implementing Digital Risk Protection?
- Update your passwords. It is recommended to update your passwords every three to six months at a minimum.
- Consider using Google Alerts to start monitoring your brand for free. You can define your search terms (like your name or the name of your business). Then, choose a source to track (web, blogs, news, etc.), and set your tracking guidelines. You will receive an alert anytime something meeting your parameters appears online.
- Make a plan for an emergency situation. If the worst happens, you will need to know how to contact proper authorities or legal counsel for immediate action.
- Pay for what you get. Free services are tempting, but most of them simply trigger their notifications from Google Alerts. That is likely not comprehensive enough for your needs.
- Understand the tools. When you choose a monitoring tool, make sure you know:
- What data sources they monitor;
- What happens if someone takes over your online accounts;
- If the tool will assist you in taking immediate action to protect your brand;
- What type of connection or integration they have into the social platforms that they are monitoring.
If your digital assets are compromised and you need legal assistance, the more information you can provide upfront, the better.
How Can You Seamlessly Implement Digital Risk Protection on All of Your Social Media Accounts?
Most tools today, including Minc Law’s Digital Risk Protection solution and service, connect to your social media accounts and platforms. They will increase visibility and provide more actionable defense mechanisms if (and when) a threat occurs.
When you sign up, the service will ask you to authenticate your social media account. Complete this authentication by logging into your social media account and requesting access to an API (application programming interface). Once that is done, the platforms can speak to each other.
It is important to keep an eye on your authentication status. Most platforms now exchange tokens between the API and require reverifying every 20–45 days based on usage and other data.
Digital Risk Monitoring Tip: It is best to be as careful and prepared as possible for any security or data breach before it actually occurs. Consistent and continuous monitoring (whether through Google Alerts or paid software) will give you important information about your digital risk.
Software That Can Assist with Digital Risk Protection
In the context of digital risk protection, artificial intelligence (AI) can play many roles. The way AI functions within your chosen risk protection service – as well as how it becomes familiar with your digital presence – is important.
AI grows smarter as it learns. Think of it as a baby – but learning in dog years. A dog can learn seven years of information in one year; AI and machine learning can do the same in seconds.
For example, the data points that our digital risk protection solution and AI system collects in partnership with ZeroFOX is tallied against the information we input into the system. Over time, your digital profile is interpreted and optimized for scanning the web for threats.
The AI will associate those factors with you as an individual online. Ultimately, the goal is to become quicker, smarter, and more accurate when detecting threats against your digital profile online.
We use artificial intelligence in combination with the top data sources and search analysts. Due to this combination, we can now scan more of the internet and trigger identifiers targeting you. AI will not replace our search analysts. Rather, it helps give us more accurate alerts so we can scan more of the web for relevant threats, and generate alerts quickly based on your digital risk.
What Type of Software is Available For Digital Risk Protection?
When on the hunt for digital risk protection software, be sure to look for things like:
- The types of threats that the software protects against
- How the software protects you
- The kinds of detection tools employed by the software
- How the software provides remediation options for when a threat occurs (or when damaging content is found)
There are many popular software options for digital risk protection, including ZeroFOX, IntSights, PhishLabs, ProofPoint, and Cybersprint.
But as a comprehensive digital risk protection solution and service, Minc Law Digital Risk Protection stands above the rest. We combine ZeroFox’s advanced AI with legal services and dedicated Minc Law attorneys to enable even more in-depth brand protection. And when we identify a threat, we provide remediation and legal services to take care of it for you.
Digital Risk Protection Becomes More Essential Every Day
In a world where digital life is an unavoidable reality, we must be prepared to protect our digital footprint. Anything and everything you do online remains online.
At Minc Law, we believe our clients need to know that monitoring services exist in many shapes and forms. It is our recommendation to anyone with a tangible security or internet issue to research the widely available digital monitoring services.
But make sure you understand not only how they monitor and identify threats, but what remediation services are available.
Why did we pick ZeroFOX to work with as our technology partner? The answer is simple: it is by far the most robust tool for monitoring and combating digital threats we have seen, and more importantly, the service that our clients receive is second to none. We do not simply rely on AI and technology, but also experts who see these types of alerts and threats daily.
If you are ready to take the next step to protect your digital assets to schedule a demo here. You can also sign up for a 45-day, money-back-guaranteed trial or schedule a consultation with one of our paralegals.
“The DRP takedown through ZeroFox did for $500 what I paid my previous representation over $2,000 for. The previous representation did not succeed, but ZeroFox did.”
K, March 15, 2021