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Social Media, your ego and security…
“We all use Social Media; but are we ready for it?”
What we decide to put on Social Media can become a huge issue to our personal security and to those around us including our families, children and close friends.
Sadly, people generally do not think in “security” terms when they post on social media, we live very much in a “post and forget” society. The fact is, more common for criminal gangs to target the likes of celebrities because of what those celebrities put on social media; be it identifying their location, giving away details of their personal security or identifying that they are away from home.
Information that we put on Social Media is being used for many different purposes and following the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal that broke in March 2018, people are far more aware of the risk of putting personal information online and how that might be used. For more information on how to stay safe on line, see our article: How to Master Security on Social Media.
It is a sad fact that more and more celebrities and sports stars are getting targeted for robbery with social media being used as the intelligence gathering tool. These wealthy young people are indeed putting themselves and others at risk due to their social media use. 2019 has been football stars targeted on the streets of London and the Rapper Mist robbed and shot in a rented villa in Portugal; lucky to have survived after being shot in the leg.
In the early hours of Monday 3rd of October in Paris, a news story broke of an armed robbery at the rented apartment of Kim Kardashian, in what looked like a well-planned robbery netting millions of dollars in jewellery. Whilst the details of the robbery will no doubt be written about in the next few days and weeks; one question will always remain:
“Did Kim’s postings on Social Media put her at greater risk?”
Many a celebrity will make any number of posts per day, often details and information that, if analysed, could be used to not only pin-point that celebrity and their routine but also detail what the inside of their home and hotel room might look like, not to mention, what is likely to be held within.
It is not just the celebrity themselves who put out information that could so easily be used; the celebrity press are guilty of this too. It only takes a reactive criminal element with the means and determination to carry out a robbery, kidnapping or murder.
The monitoring of a celebrity with a large Social Media footprint, like Kim Kardashian and those closely associated with that celebrity, will very quickly give a pattern of life and of course, key movements and locations.
In early October 2018, the Los Angeles Police made arrests in relation to a gang that had been operating in the LA area that was using social media as an intelligence tool to pick targets. A Police spokesperson said: "The victims' homes had been selected based on social media postings and touring or travel schedules of the owners,".
The arrests were made following a break in at the home of LA Rams American football player Robert Woods - the Artist Rihanna's Hollywood Hills mansion was broken in to around the same period. Following searches of one of the suspect's properties, the addresses of basketball superstar LeBron James and actor Matt Damon were also found on a list.
Most celebrities do not have the correct level of protection and even those who do, often have the wrong sort of protection, not intelligence led, but more often than not, brawn not brains. Good close protection will understand threats as a whole, including the use of social media and “insider threats”. They will also be able to identify early on, those that may be a cause of concerns and of course, potential stalkers, as discussed in our article: Celebrity Stalking Cases.
Understanding the Risks
Most of the world has not caught up with Social Media and the dangers that its use (if unchecked) can bring. Let’s be honest, how many celebrities post photos of themselves out running, or in restaurants etc.? How much effort, or what level of investigation would it take to pin-point where that celebrity was? Where they lived? Or what hotel they were staying in? This is made even easier if “geo tagging” is enabled when photos are posted.
Social Media is here to stay; there is little doubt of that. The world of “celebrity” and much of the Executive/Close Protection Industry need to educate themselves on how to use Social Media safely and the pros and cons of its use.
Of course, there will be times when celebrities are on their own and it is at these times when they are most vulnerable. Our sister company Intelligent Training International Limited runs courses for VIP clients on Security Awareness Training, although of course this is no substitute for professional security.
Close Protection “the Bodyguard”
One of the saddest facts of all, when it comes to celebrities, is that most of them who use Close Protection do not choose wisely. You just cannot cut costs when it comes to security; of course it’s not just about throwing money at security either, it’s about choosing a provider that understands security “as a whole”, a company that is more holistic in their approach and who understands the different risks that each client faces; and, if required educating the client and the client’s people to the risks.
Our CEO, Alex Bomberg's radio interview on the incident: BBC Radio 4 interview on the Kim Kardashian Robbery in Paris
Should you require more information on our security services, please get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.