Corporate Private Investigator

One group of individuals that need a private investigator the most are VIP’s and Executives. A common misconception is that a VIP or an Executive would only need the help of a private investigator AFTER something has gone wrong in their lives; IE, divorce, stolen assets, threats of blackmail, breach of data, unwanted photographs published online for the public to see, or a myriad of other potential hazards that life may throw their way. The notion that a VIP or an Executive needs a private investigator after these events have occurred is simply not true, and I’m going to tell you why.

At BrightStar Investigations, I take a proactive investigative and intelligence-related approach to helping VIP’s and Executives. A private investigator with such a long history of working in the intelligence community is just what a VIP or an Executive needs to help protect their very private and valuable information from people who have nothing better to do in life but cause harm. Listed below are several ways that BrightStar can provide a VIP or Executive with critical investigative and intelligence services.

What Can a Corporate Private Investigator Do?

  1. Executive Threat Assessment

An Executive Threat Assessment is one of the most comprehensive and eye-opening services that I have provided to VIP’s and Executives. I have conducted Executive Threat Assessments for Executives all over Europe and as far as Pakistan. When conducting an Executive Threat Assessment, I am looking for information that may be available online that could cause harm, damage, or potentially blackmail to my client.

I have found executives credit cards with full CCV and expiration date. I have also come across very provocative and reputation destroying emails that were published publicly—and the worst part is, the client didn’t know. Finding these items, combined with finding a VERY public social media account that belonged to a child of an Executive, that listed travel itineraries, personal information, and other personal photographs, made for a very eye-opening and helpful report that assisted this Executive reduce his risk of being blackmailed, having his family targeted by malicious individuals, and gave him the security of knowing that his digital footprint is cleaner today than it was yesterday.

When I do a Threat Assessment for an Executive, it’s not a question of if I will find harmful information; it’s a question of what.

  1. Helping an VIP or Executive Disappear

VIP’s and Executives typically enjoy being private people. Who can blame them? Their attention is constantly held by meetings, colleagues at work, fundraisers, emails, phone calls, not to mention the pressures of ensuring the success of a company, and the list goes on. Since VIP’s and Executives are privacy minded people, they are looking for solutions in both their professional and personal lives that can help themdisappear1 reduce the amount of information that they are putting out into the public square—and also trying to reduce the chances of having their very personal and valuable information intercepted by a malicious entity.

When it comes to helping a VIP or an Executive disappear from the virtual world, several steps must be taken. First and foremost, an Executive Threat Assessment must be done. Second, once the Threat Assessment is complete, multiple privacy ‘utilities’ must be installed on a variety of the VIP’s or Executives devices. Third, the investigator must conduct some ‘cleaning up’ of the client’s presence on the web. And the final step is ongoing monitoring—yes, monitoring. BrightStar Investigations has access to software that can monitor the internet on a continual basis for keywords, and also monitoring for impersonations. It’s just like having your own private intelligence agency at your disposal.

Whatever your needs are as a VIP or an Executive, BrightStar Investigations is ready to provide solutions to protect your most valuable assets.

 

How Do Private Investigators Follow People

I have found that a common perception of a private investigator is that all that we do is sit in cars, follow people, take pictures of cheating spouses, smoke cigars and wear trench coats.

Ha!

This could not be further from the truth. With a new wave of younger private investigators, new technology, and a new way in which society is connected via the internet, private investigators can gather information in a way that is way outside of the box in terms of societal perception and traditional investigative activities.

I am an intelligence analyst by training. I spent four years at Mercyhurst University studying the art of Open Source Intelligence Collection. In addition, I have, and currently do work with hackers on collecting intelligence for major national and international clients. This experience has given me a different perspective on how I conduct private investigations. Below I will share 5 ways in which I as a private investigator can operate outside of the traditional investigation box.

How Do Private Investigators Follow People

1) Develop Patters of Life
Not only can I and my associates follow somebody around in a car, I can also follow somebody around virtually using GPS meta-data from social media posts. In addition, using the power of the internet, I can develop what an individual’s patterns of life may be based on the information that they freely share with the public via the web. Based off of public data, I can tell when an individual wakes up, where they go to grab their coffee, when they get to work, who they hate at work, why they hate that person at work, the style of English they use (which denotes other in-depth identifiers), who their close associates are, the state of their mental condition, what they are looking forward too, what they ate for dinner, and when they go to sleep.

This could not have been done 20 years ago. Dare I say even 10 years ago?

2) Find you in the Spreadsheet
You are a prudent person. You have taken the time to make everything private. I congratulate you. You have done more than 90% of people I know. However, one small problem remains. Using the power of advanced Google searching, I am able to find spreadsheets, Word documents, PDF’s, PowerPoints and other documents where your information exists. In fact, you didn’t even have to post it. It could have been posted by a former school administrator, colleague at work, friend, Roman or Countryman.

If I can’t find someone in the internet’s public square, I will find them in the spreadsheet.
(For more info, please see the NSA’s publication “Untangling the Web”)

3) Use Your Email Against You
This might seem simple. EVERYONE searches by email. However, I take a different approach to emails. I liken it to Miranda rights, with a twist; “anything you post on the internet can and will be used against you when I investigate.” Instead of just searching your email, I might just take off the @gmail.com piece and assume that your email username is the same username that you use all across the web. Guess how many times I have been right?

4) Help Someone Disappear
So, it appears that someone can find anything using public data, right? Well, as a private investigator, I can help someone disappear from the internet, and increase their privacy by hunting down the various places that they exist online. In fact, helping an individual encrypt their emails, computers, internet browsing and phone calls are all out of the box services that I as a private investigator provide. Hunting information can be used to either target an individual, or to help someone become a more private citizen.

5) Be a ‘Cyber-Witness’ Against Cyber Bullies
Just happens to kids, right? Wrong. Cyber Bullying appears to be a worldwide epidemic. In the past someone would be lucky to get a print-screen capture of the activities of a Cyber Bully. Not anymore. When a client comes to me with a concern over Cyber-Bullying, I have technology that can index and archive every single word, pictures, post, destructive comment, email, or other malicious thing said online. The best part is, all of the information is indexed with an MD5 hash fingerprint; and it’s all done silently, and without the Cyber Bullies knowledge.

Being armed with that kind of information when going to a school administrator, supervisor, lawyer, or law enforcement agency is powerful for a client, and is definitely outside the norm of what society thinks that a private investigator might do.

Being a Private Investigator is an awesome job that is a great service to the people that need help in some of life’s most difficult situations. I take great pride in doing my job professionally, ethically, and in getting the results that my clients deserve. If you need a Private Investigator that lives ‘outside of the box’, feel free to drop me a note at: info@brightstarinvestigations.com

 

The Status of TrueCrypt

I have to admit it. I was shocked when I heard that TrueCrypt had been compromised. After working with professional hackers that havGRC TrueCrypte experience in top-level intelligence operations—who by the way depended on the use of TrueCrypt AND taught me how to use the software–I was floored when I heard that this software is now unreliable.

I still can’t believe that this amazing piece of open source software is being erased from the net. However, I have a plan. I am going to wait this one out and let the audits come back. In fact, I have found a repository where the stable versions of TrueCrypt are archived for use. As a matter of fact, GRC is advising that TrueCrypt is still safe to use. You can find the information and the repository of TrueCrypt here: https://www.grc.com/misc/truecrypt/truecrypt.htm

Will I still be using TrueCrypt? Until I hear some better evidence that it is totally and completely unsecure and unreliable — only time will tell.

Headlines are all about the latest company to fall victim to hackers and catastrophic data breaches. But everyday companies give away mission-critical data for free without ever knowing.

What Will a Corporate Threat Assessment Do for Your Business

Corporate threat assessmentThese self-inflicted data leaks take a heavy toll on the bottom line. Data leaks cost business millions each year. You invest a tremendous amount of time and money protecting your information from external sources and attacks. But what are you doing to protect your sensitive data from inadvertently or intentionally leaking outside your corporate walls?

Craig Smith, Chief Investigator of BrightStar Investigations is a data leak expert, and has worked with ethical hackers, unidentified government agencies, and corporations to help them identify information security breaches and data leaks. BrightStar Investigations can help you identify where the leaks are so you can stop the bleeding of proprietary information that is costing you money and consumer trust.

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