When Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ iPhone was allegedly hacked in 2018, the rich and famous scrambled to have their privacy locked down, as they have become the target of sophisticated cyber attackers.
This breach resulted in an increase in demand for bespoke privacy security services for the wealthy. If Bezos can be hacked (which was reported to have been done via messaging service WhatsApp), no one else is safe.
Attempts at stealing sensitive data from big corporations is nothing new, but now there is a significant increase in cyber attacks on executives, politicians, and celebrities over the past year.
Following the Bezos incident, companies offering online security protection for billionaires have been receiving lots of inquiries inbound from potential clients on how to protect themselves better from attacks.
Increase in Demand for Tailored Privacy Security Services
In 2018, a record $5 billion in venture capital funding was earned by enterprise cyber security, which means the market has always been in high demand. And now, demand for security catering specifically for individuals is on the rise.
Providers include tech start-ups offering privacy security services that include virtual privacy networks for anonymous browsing and secure password managers.
They also offer sophisticated privacy services in which someone is in charge of monitoring and flagging any strange activity on a client’s personal devices in real time. These companies are also creating “threat intelligence” databases where users can share information on attacks on certain high-profile groups.
Cyber security experts are finding themselves providing “executive threat exposure reviews”. They conduct these sweeps by searching the web for personal information that may have landed on social media sites so they can delete it.
Such information can be used to create customized phishing that can look very credible. The attack on Bezos was said to have been done this way, where he was tricked into downloading malicious software through a seemingly innocuous attachment.
Indeed, bankers and wealth advisers have also joined in on giving guidance to clients about the risk of cyber attacks, as they have seen it increase urgently in the past few years.
Case in point, a wealth management arm of a European bank hosted a secret roundtable for their clients to discuss cyber security. During the event, a live hacking of a phone of one of the bank employees was shown using a small handheld device which was able to get data in seconds. These kinds of events just go to show how big a threat cyberattacks are nowadays.
What Motivates the Attacks
Financial concerns are a huge motivator for cyber breaches, with attackers looking for ways to access funds or extort money from an individual.
Some attackers are also in it for political reasons, such as when seeking leverage over an individual who is in the middle of a deal in a particular region or criticizing a political regime.
The global rise in security breaches is also the result of the newer working arrangements of employees, such as remote working and using their own devices instead of the office-issued electronics. These arrangements are prone to exposing sensitive information of the employee or company without them realizing it.
What’s more, the market for malware has definitely increased and is being used to infiltrate smartphones. The same is also true for ransomware, which is used by hackers to disable a person’s files or systems and will only restore it if they pay a ransom.
How An Executive Protection Program Can Help Safeguard Online Privacy Security
Privacy and confidentiality is a luxury that only few can afford. Elite executive protection companies can help create that luxury. In order to achieve these, the following steps have to be applied for each client.
Executive protection programs are tough when it comes to these background checks and part of their job is to make sure that these records cannot affect your privacy.
Assess Exposure of Personal Information
Keeping personal information private is a challenge for famous people. There’s always the possibility of being followed by the paparazzi on your way home. But still, measures must be done to keep the public from knowing where you live.
Your address and other personal information can be acquired in a lot of ways. You may be sharing personal updates on Facebook, which is an easy target for attackers. The ideal thing to do is to avoid posting personal details and narrow down who can see your posts. Also, avoid posting real-time updates of your whereabouts as well as pictures or videos from your home.
Even living in the U.S. can be a security risk in itself. A lot of public records are available at all levels—city, county, state, or federal. It can be easy to look up information such as property information, census data, criminal records, and tax liens.
Remove Information from Public Databases
In a similar vein, make sure information such as your name, address, phone number, and date of birth are taken off public databases. It’s important to keep the information off these sites to avoid potential danger. This is one of the things that your team will do for you.
They will also make sure that no one else has access to your phone to keep hackers from breaking into your phone and getting your personal data, along with your text messages, pictures, and more. The database removal process can take up to one year.
As part of making you completely anonymous, your team can provide disinformation to confuse potential attackers. This could be a fake home address, fake phone number, as well as a fake name for a fake credit card which you can use and your purchases will be delivered to your real address. You can also arrange not to receive physical mail at your real address.
Invest in Encrypted Communication
Encryption is essential in securing your communication data and sensitive information. Normal phone and email accounts can be cracked, hence the need for encrypted communication. An executive protection company will provide unbreakable email encryption which uses “one time pads,” which are the only communication protocol that is impenetrable, if configured and used correctly on phone calls, text and emails.