Guns, Drugs and Death Threats

Philip Grindell
Written by Philip Grindell
guns, drugs and death threats

Yet again this week, the news reported that the personal and private details of a number of high profile female UK athletes, had been stolen and revealed via the Dark Web.In this instance they were apparently compromising personal photographs and videos.

It is difficult to imagine the anxiety and harm caused by this act of theft. Some will deflect the issue and talk about the subject of personal images, irrelevant and frankly none of anyone’s business. They were ‘secured’ on iCloud and perhaps they believed that meant they were safe.

According to reports, the management companies and agents of those impacted have been quoted to have said “It really is difficult to know what to do next”

These attacks are sadly not unusual and should you be in the public eye, or represent someone, who is, it is important to recognise that there is a good chance you will subject of a targeted attack.  Rather than ‘knowing what to do next’ it is about being proactive and getting ahead of the game.

The Dark and Deep Web

This was another example of the threats posed by the Dark Web. Its very name and the use of the word ‘Dark’ suggests a hidden, dangerous place. In many ways it is exactly that. A place where elicit acts take place, drugs are sold, guns are sold, humans are sold and in regards to this article, data is old.

Most are unaware that the Dark Web was created by a branch of US intelligence called the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Its purpose was to enable agents to communicate anonymously and untraceable.
It remains anonymous and untraceable and yet perhaps less known is the enormity of the Dark Web. If one pictures an iceberg, the small section sticking out the top is what we all commonly refer to as the ‘internet’. Below the surface exists the Dark and Deep Web.

The Deep Web refers to non-indexed pages, while the Dark Web refers to pages which are both non-indexed and involved in illegal niches, but require specific software, configurations, or authorisation to access. The Dark Web forms a small part of the Deep Web, the part of the Web not indexed by web search engines.

How do I secure my data and stay safe?

First and foremost it is crucial that better cyber security is practiced with two factor identification and good passwords a must. Current advice suggests using 3 separate words together to create secure passwords or using password generator software that protects and recalls them for you.

Cyber Security companies offer ‘Dark Web Cover’. In truth that is little more that useless and even most monitoring services are generic and likely to miss most of the information you are looking for and are unlikely to prevent or alert you of an attack.

Monitoring of the Dark Web is recommended, however rather that the ‘off the shelf’ or general monitoring services mentioned, choose a service whose searches are bespoke to you and go looking in places likely to provide an indicator that you have been compromised or that attempts are being made. It may be that you will receive a ‘nil return’ each month, hopefully with an audit trail of the activity that has been conducted on your behalf. However should you choose such a service, you can then be reassured that you are safe. This service acts like an insurance policy, where no news is good news.

The impact of being targeted

Being a public figure comes with the ongoing risk of being targeted, physically, reputationally and psychologically. Those interested in causing those in public life harm rarely do so on the internet.

The ‘noise’ of the trolls and social media abuse can be deeply distressing and hurtful, but that is not where the threats lie. Proven research repeatedly demonstrates that those that make threats rarely pose one. That said, there are indicators, often counterintuitive and unless you know what to look for, you will not identify the threats until it is too late.

Those impacted by that ‘noise’ must be provided with the proper psychological support by specialists with expertise, experience and compassion. Just to be clear, should I obtain a degree in Psychology and therefore obtain membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS) that does not make me qualified to provide the sort of services required, however well meaning. For that reason, it is critical to do the appropriate research and source a specialist.

The Dark and Deep Web need not be feared, or cause harm. The key is to understand the risks, be proactive, and ensure that the appropriate security and passwords are maintained and regularly reviewed.

For further information contact Defuse Global via or [email protected]

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