13 July 2019

Red Zone: Behavioral Analysis Interviews...

Industrial Espionage and the theft of trade secrets is continuously on every Operational Risk Management (ORM) executives mind these days.  The names Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange have been headline news for years.

In addition, the 2009 conviction under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 in the United States, is a stark reminder of the accelerated requirements for an "Insider Threat Program" (InTP), by the counter intelligence and OPSEC units of major public and private organizations.  Flashback to a decade ago:

"A former Rockwell and Boeing engineer from Orange County, CA was remanded into custody this morning after a federal judge convicted him of charges of economic espionage and acting as an agent of the People’s Republic of China, for whom he stole restricted technology and Boeing trade secrets, including information related to the Space Shuttle program and Delta IV rocket."

How 250,000 pages of classified, proprietary and otherwise sensitive information was found under this employees house is a good question? What might be an even more interesting question is pertaining to the controls for OPSEC and INFOSEC at Boeing in Orange County, CA a decade ago.

Information Operations (IO) or Information Security controls are only as good as the creativity and the will of the individual human being, that exploits the vulnerabilities in the design, configuration or implementation of your layers of defense.

This is why the counter intelligence and OPSEC capabilities within the enterprise must be ever vigilant and continuously adapting to the changing personnel within the organization.

In collaboratin with the Information Technology organization, the Digital Operational Risks that the OPSEC team is focused on these days, has to do with Data Loss Prevention (DLP)  software platforms and proactive data exfiltration detection capabilities.

As companies such as Boeing and other Defense Industrial Base (DIB) institutions utilize the latest software, hardware and other technology to assist in the "insider" detection and prevention of stealing, changing or deleting sensitive information, there still remains the risk of human factors and social engineering.

Sometimes the low tech or human designed detection systems that work on behavioral sciences, can be just as effective as the newest software running on the fastest computer box.

One example is "The Reid Technique" in the context of doing routine interviews and investigations with a set of "Red Zone" employees. Who are the red zone employees?

Those individuals who have certain access to systems or information, leave the organization for involuntary reasons or people that may be 3rd party suppliers to the key people in the red zone. So how does the Reid Technique help?

"The Reid Technique is a method of meeting, conferring with, and evaluating, the subjects of an investigation. It involves three different components — factual analysis, interviewing, and interrogation. While each of these are separate and distinct procedures, they are interrelated in the sense that each serves to help eliminate innocent suspects during an investigation."

The "Integrity Interview" is a highly structured interview with a job applicant. The purpose for the interview is to develop factual information about the applicant's past behavioral patterns.

The philosophy behind the interview is very straightforward. The most accurate indicator of an individual's future behavior, is their recent past behavior.

The same technique can be used on a departing employee with the emphasis on adherence to all "Acceptable Use" policies, regarding digital assets and cyberspace access to organizational data repositories.

Individuals who have the characteristics associated with deception, could be the target of a further investigation to determine whether any unauthorized information has been sent to an encrypted webmail account or if a 2 TB Thumb Drive happened to be plugged into a corporate laptop, the night before the last day on the job.

This low tech method may still be one of the most effective means for industrial espionage. Old school methods with 21st century technologies. All of the detection hardware and software, CCTV cameras, tagged files or RFID countermeasure, will not be able to thwart a diligent, patient and trusted insider.

Utilizing "Behavioral Interview Analysis" can make the difference between early detection or late reaction.

And while the OPSEC group is working on the "Lone Wolf" insider, there are swarms of non-state attackers initiating their asymmetric information operations strategy on the corporations and governments worldwide.

Economic espionage and attacks on nations states critical infrastructures, requires a substantial shift in policy and taxonomy, if we are ever going to be effective in protecting our IP and trade secrets.

While the CEO's and the General's are being briefed on the latest facets of "Weaponizing Malware," we can only hope that OPSEC is still conducting the behavioral analysis exit interview.

A face to face encounter, with someone who may just be that one person, who has your most valuable intellectual property or trade secrets in the purse or backpack at their feet...

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