Strengthening Defenses with Security Intelligence


There’s so much you can do with the Internet—the good and the bad. Cybercrime is so ruthless that experts predict it will incur $6 trillion worth of damages by 2021. It is the largest threat to every company, and one of the toughest challenges of mankind, created by mankind, for mankind.

The evidence itself is in the numbers. Do you think nothing could be worse than drug trade, terrorism or human trafficking? According to Cisco, cybercrime will be more profitable than the biggest illegal drug trades in the world combined. Give it a few more years, and even the most savage syndicates will turn to cybercrime to strengthen their networks—if they haven’t already. Cybercriminals are always two steps ahead—who knows what they’re cooking now?

As a key person in an organization, you have the corporate responsibility to prioritize safety and security—of the employees, finances, and data down to the last detail. You do this through security intelligence, a smart approach to protect your organization from all threats possible.

What is security intelligence?

Security intelligence is the real-time collection, analysis, evaluation and response of data generated from an organization through users, software and IT infrastructure.

By intelligence, we mean information that holds relevant value to your organization. The ultimate goal of security intelligence is to give significant insight to identify, prevent or reduce threats regardless of the size of the organization.

You don’t just collect information in retrospect; you have to know what is going on right now in all nooks and crannies of your network. Then you gather data from every source within your network, so you can compare and see patterns. With analytics, you can perform behavioral profiling and determine false positives. As soon as you have the right intelligence, you present your findings in a concise approach to the top-level management of your organization.

In simple terms, the information provided by security intelligence is laid in front of you. You may not know it, but there may already be a breach of security as you speak—and you’ll never spot it without proper correlation and analysis of data.

How is security intelligence applied?

You’ve heard it many times, but what exactly does security intelligence do? What is it good for? How is it so beneficial?

Here a few ways on how you can apply security intelligence to your business:

Monitoring accounts

What are the odds of having a rogue employee? Even with pre-employment screening, an insider can be a threat. Security intelligence tracks the routine events of your users. It can look into activities and access permissions and alert you for any unusual behavior.

Detecting fraud

Your company’s customer service department is the highest risk vector for fraud. How many users comprise the call center? Imagine all of them having access to clients’ accounts, credit card details, and personal information. This is a serious security risk, but not all internal network monitoring systems can look into this specific network in real-time. Security intelligence, in comparison, can dive deep into this area and detect unusual activity suggestive of fraud.

Recovering compromised accounts

You want to prevent unauthorized access to your network at all times. However, the access itself is not preventable as the attacker enters all valid credentials of the original user. Security intelligence only detects the infiltration through changes in the routine events of the user’s login after the successful access. This will instantly alert your team so you can take immediate action.

How is security intelligence flexible?

Do you own a small business? Do you run a social enterprise? Security intelligence is not exclusive for business giants with a lot of resources, big budgets, and employees. Once you’re in business, there’s always competition.

With your competitors in the background, what can put your business at risk? Complacency.

And complacency opens the doors for security threats to break your defenses. Without security intelligence, you won’t even know there’s a breach going on already.

Open source intelligence and competitive intelligence are both beneficial for strategy-building and decision-making, but you still need security intelligence to protect your company from cybercrime. So whether you belong to a small or large-scale company, security intelligence is helpful.

There is no universal platform used for security intelligence; it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s a complex process and the approach done by one organization may not be effective for your own. The good thing is that security intelligence is flexible, and there is room for configuration. You can modify it according to your company’s risk posture and weaknesses. Utilizing the right approach identifies both internal and external threat data and transforms them into threat intelligence, forming the basis for making security decisions.

How does security intelligence provide insight?

Not all companies have their own analysts to perform security intelligence. In many organizations, third-party providers comprising of security intelligence experts trained in IT security do the service. In both cases, what matters is the accuracy of the results from which you derive insight.

Collecting the right information—sifting the relevant data from the less significant ones—is crucial in security intelligence. Do you know how much data you hold in your organization? You’ll be surprised how much big data you have stored in your networks. How do you deal with the overload? Security intelligence can help you make sense of the big data. A comprehensive insight will let you look at the big picture and guide you to make the right security decisions.

There is a need to add layers of defense to your organization’s network. This reflects on how you secure your assets, including business data, IT infrastructure and intellectual property. In turn, your ability to secure all these will reflect your organization’s reputation.

Security intelligence is more defensive than it is offensive. Fortunately, this approach is within reach to any organization who takes security seriously. This matters because as you innovate, threats become more sophisticated. As you read, enemies may be breaching your organization’s defense layers right now—utilizing complex measures to infiltrate your network in ways you have never imagined. Can you stop them?

7 Questions on Person Background Checks answered


Reading a random person’s resume is one thing, but doing a background search is another. For a company screening qualified job-hunters, running a person background checks is often the best and only measure to identify the best applicant of the bunch. By “best”, we not only refer to intelligence and experience, but a whole lot more.

1. What is a Background Check?

A background check is the process of investigating and gathering relevant information such as past or present employment, commercial experience, financial history and criminal records of a person or organization. In layman’s terms, background checking an individual involves digging through many documents and interviewing people to verify facts.

The result of a background check reveals information taken from different sources, such as, but not limited to:

● Schools
● Former employers
● Business interests
● Social security
● Credit history
● Criminal history

2. What is the Purpose of a Person Background Check?

The practice of background investigation extends throughout many industries to provide managers with insight and protect every industry’s best interests:


This is the biggest piece of the pie. Background checking is most availed by recruiters or hiring managers during employee screening. This is particularly true for very sensitive positions such as those belonging in the security, academic, medical, airline and banking industries. Even in the public sector, positions in law enforcement, military and finance need trust and confidence from higher authorities.

The main purpose of person background checks in the context of pre-employment screening is to find out an applicant’s weakness in character and health, and to spot security and safety risks. Any offense within the past work experience is a serious matter, especially for government positions. The ultimate goal of background investigation is to ensure that current employees in the company or organization remain safe and secure.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Background checking is also useful for other people, such as SME owners who want to get to know their prospective business partners, and landlords who want to ensure that their tenants have no criminal history.

Firearm License

Depending on the country, certain affiliations or interests also require background checking. In the US, the Brady Bill requires those who intend to buy firearms and explosives to undergo criminal checks first.

Immigration and Citizenship

In light of issues on national security such as terrorism and drug trafficking, many states do a thorough background and derogatory check on all aliens who wish to enter their respective countries as workers, immigrants or refugees. This is to protect public welfare and minimize, if not eliminate, the threat of undesirable aliens.

3. Who Runs a Background Check?

Ideally, a government agency is the most qualified, unbiased provider of background checks. However, because of their own laws and regulations, not all countries may easily provide this kind of service to anyone who wishes to do an investigation.

For their convenience, companies may have their own private background investigators, but it is not uncommon to employ third-party providers to cross-check information about applicants. Most security companies that provide services like executive protection, business intelligence and fraud investigation also offer individual background checks.

4. How Much does a Background Check Cost?

The rates for requesting documents vary across countries and states. Records from offices like trial courts, professional bodies and motor-vehicular agencies range from $5 to $15, while federal criminal records may go up to $65. Meanwhile, sex offender databases are almost always free to use by the public for online criminal checks.

Private security firms who provide background reports will, of course, charge a premium fee for performing the investigation and gathering all the records. The rates also vary depending on the number of applicants and the extent of the background check as desired by the company. Retrieving records from international groups such as INTERPOL will also cost more considering the overhead costs and difficulty of acquiring information from an outside agency.

For an exact quote, security firms usually propose a plan tailored for a company’s needs and convenience.

5. Is It Essential for Companies to Perform Background Checks?

It’s alarming how many jobseekers misrepresent information in their resumes. According to a 2015 TIME magazine article, more than half of recruitment specialists detect lies on applicant resumes.

Because of bad hire, employers end up in a catastrophic situation—losing their profit, reputation and time. This is a real scenario in Poland, where wrong selection of employees forced 77% of companies to re-recruit due to issues on dishonesty, inefficiency, tardiness and even theft.

Rather than losing thousands or millions of dollars in repeating the recruitment process, why not make it a protocol to perform routine background checking on all prospective applicants? If you’re a business owner, it’s a small price to pay when you know you’re hiring an applicant with a clean record.

While it is not required by law, background investigation has a lot of weight in employee selection. Human resource managers now use it as part of a rubric to gauge an applicant’s overall qualification for the job. In the long run, this will be beneficial for both the employer and employee.

6. How Long does a Background Check Take?

A typical background check will need 3-7 days to complete. For federal documents like FBI records in the US, it may take up to 30 days to generate a thorough check which justifies why they cost a lot more than other records.

The number of applicants and the extent of the investigation also affect how long a background investigation will take. An urgent background report will also demand a higher rate.

7. Does a Background Check Violate Privacy?

The disadvantage of background checking is the increased likelihood of employment discrimination, identity theft and workplace bullying which stems from the invasion of privacy.

While it is not illegal to perform background checks, it is best to check your country or state for applicable regulations regarding its practice. In almost all cases, companies ask the applicants for their consent to undergo person background checks as part of the selection process.

Despite the few unpopular notions and the intimidating process of background investigation, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

Are you a business, entrepreneur or hiring manager? Would you consider performing person background checks on your current and future employees? Let us know what you think.

Press Release, March 27, 2018: Privatimus´ information platform and themed homepage goes online


Aim of this platform is to provide an initial insight into Pre-Employment Screening (PES). Company owners, security experts and HR managers can utilize this platform to learn about current legal and professional aspects for a legally compliant applicant review.

Privatimus, a German security consultancy specialising in strategic protection concepts and protection strategies for NGOs, family offices, asset management and their wealthy private clients as well as corporate clients, is launching a new thematic and information platform.

“The process of applicant pre-employment screening and background checks is still in its infancy in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.” Sven Leidel, Partner and Head of Intelligence at Privatimus GmbH, explains. “Statistically speaking, it is estimated by the faculty and PES experts that almost half of all applicant CVs show inconsistencies or are fabricated in some way. Background checks for candidates from non-European countries is also increasing, which can pose a real challenge especially for German SME’s with a limited international orientation and network,” says Zeeshan Nasir, also a partner of Privatimus GmbH and Head of Operations.

“Procedures for applicant verification in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are very different from those in the USA, for example. Post-employment screenings are not feasible in accordance with the law, and certain checks are simply taboo due to strict data protection regulations and personal rights,” adds Sven Leidel.

The new portal of Privatimus GmbH closes the information gap for non-experts as well as those responsible for Corporate Security, HR and Management who engage in pre-employment screening on an occasional or regular basis, depending on the requirements of their clients.

Answers to questions such as: What is allowed? What is not allowed? Where are the limits? How far can a pre-employment check go? How does a Best Practice look like? -and more, are provided on

About Privatimus GmbH

We are a company with integrity and extensive expertise. Since 1993, our experts have been concentrating on servicing an exclusive clientele. With our worldwide network of experts, we support our customers nationally and internationally. In this way, we ensure that the best possible support is provided across national and cultural borders and that the business interests as well as the highly personal private interests of our customers are protected.

FAMILY OFFICE ELITE Interview with Sven Leidel: Privatimus Safe Room Solution


An affordable and prefabricated solution created for new buildings and also for a retrofit installation in existing rooms in houses and apartments.

FAMILY OFFICE ELITE spoke with Sven Leidel, an expert for HNWI/UHNWI Risk Mitigation & Protection Strategies located in Hamburg, Germany.

Mr. Leidel, although this is already your second interview with our magazine, please tell us again about your professional security background and introduce yourself to our readers!

I was born in 1968 in Hamburg, Germany and I am a German citizen. As a former member of the German military police, I have been dealing with the topic of protection and security since 1988. Today I am involved, as an honorary member, in various national and international security and professional associations in advisory and executive functions. I am a professional lecturer and trainer, facilitator and specialist author, security consultant and expert in the field of protection strategies for exposed individuals. I have gained extensive expertise from more than 25 years of industry and professional experience and I have operated in numerous foreign assignments and projects in Europe, North America, Latin America as well as parts of Asia. My longtime customers include many major national and international corporations and insurance companies as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, exposed private individuals, family offices and family foundations as well as entrepreneurial families and high net worth individuals. Last but not least, I am an author and editor of two books in respect of Travel Risk Management; see (English) and (German).

Your company provides Risk Mitigation & Protection Concepts for HNWI´s / UHNWI´s. Why do you call your “physical shelter concept” a SAFE ROOM and not a PANIC ROOM.

We have chosen SAFE ROOM for three reasons: (1) We feel, that SAFE ROOM meets the purpose and security aspect much better, plus the word “panic” sounds too negative in our point of view, (2) our exclusive technology and construction partner “Turtle Saferooms” is using the wording SAFE ROOM also in the company name and (3) the naming PANIC ROOM is often associated with the same name movie.

That´s right, when I hear PANIC ROOM I am thinking automatically about Jodie Foster in the Hollywood movie “Panic Room”.

Most people do! At the end you can use both conceptualities; there is no right or wrong. We have decided, we do not want to sell a “Hollywood Horror Experience or Feeling” to our clientele, that´s why we use SAFE ROOM. What you see in the movie “Panic Room” is more of a bunker with thick steel, massive concrete walls and a high end technical solution (i.e. self-sufficient air conditioning, oxygen and power supply). Most of the time, the reality with private clientele and their SAFE ROOM solutions looks quite differently.

What makes your concept so different?

We offer a proven “room-in-room retrofit installation solution” as well as a professional architectural solution for new buildings. With the know-how and experience of our technology partner, we are able to plan a SAFE ROOM already in the construction phase or use existing rooms in the house or apartment also as a SAFE ROOM. For example, you can rebuild and use an existing dressing room, that is close to the master bed room, as a SAFE ROOM. Optically the purpose of the room stays the same: A simple dressing room with all of your cloths. But if necessary, you can close the door(s) of the dressing room and it protects you against intruders, kidnappers, criminals a.s.o.. The beauty is, you can still use the dressing room in your day-to-day-routine for the purpose the room was originally planned and built. This concept gives us the opportunity to be efficient and costs effective, but it still meets the need for an individual and customized security and protection level; in our point of view the best possible price-performance-ratio.

Your solution is not a bunker that protects against the next bomb or terror attack, right?

By far not … our standard SAFE ROOMS are not designed to withstand and resist a bomb attack or a siege for many hours or days by trained and heavily armed terrorists. In order to be also on the safe side in respect of those threats, clients then must invest hundreds of thousands of EURO/GBP/US$. Anyway, upon request we can also assist with those demands; it is all a question of money and availability. Generally speaking, it is our understanding, unless you are in a witness protection program or you have received massive threats from mafia or organized crime groups as well as from political, religious or otherwise motivated radical groups, you do not need a massive bunker or high end solution. The vast majority of our exclusive clientele is looking more for a lean solution with a good price-performance-ratio. Having this said, our SAFE ROOM solutions start at a little under EURO 10,000 for the very minimum version and solution.

What is your solution protecting from?

Our SAFE ROOMS are protecting from violent intruders and criminals, as well as from kidnappers, stalkers or violent ex-life partners. The purpose of a SAFE ROOM is, to provide a safe retreat and to protect the home owners from physical harm until the police, law enforcement or the contracted security company has arrived. If you can trust the statistics, this means that a SAFE ROOM needs to withstand and resists the penetration effort and attempt from criminals for app. 15 – 20 minutes. In the meantime, help should have been arrived at your house in most cases.

Who is a typical SAFE ROOM client?

If you are talking about the age of our clients, this goes by all ages. It could be the retired wealthy couple, which does not feel comfortable anymore to use physical defenses in case of an intrusion by violent criminals. It could also be the HNWI family, where the husband has to travel a lot for business and the rest of the family members are alone at home a lot. In addition, it can also be the successful mid age business couple, which wants to add another level of security while they are at home. So bottom line, you see that there is no typical clientele by age. It is more a question of the willingness to reach the next security level (on top of an existing CCTV and alarm system) or even the ability of the financial investment in the next security level.

Does your SAFE ROOM concept also protect against bullets from handguns, rifles and automatic weapons?

Our standard solutions protect against 9mm, Magnum .44 and up to Kalashnikov 7.62. Nevertheless, if a client needs an extra level of protection, we can also secure the SAFE ROOM against higher and stronger calibers. Again, it is just a question of money and availability. To be honest, it is our experience that the resistance class 7.62 is sufficient in most cases. There is really no need to spend more money on higher resistance classes, if there is no real known threat need. At the end, the client will get what he or she is asking for.

Are there any technical limitations or requirements from your end?

Not really, beside the fact that our collaboration partner Turtle Saferooms needs a minimum of two bearing walls in order to build in the room-in-room-solution. Other than that there are no real technical limitations or requirements from our end.

Some interested persons might think: “We do not want all the conversion and construction dirt in the house (for several days)!”. How do you respond to this statement?

I totally understand, that most clients would like to avoid any disorders, inconveniences and impairments at their homes for days, like you experience when you i.e. convert your bathroom. In our case the whole process is very simple, fast and “pretty clean”. After assessing the threat and risk level and deciding which resistance class is reasonable for the SAFE ROOM, our technical experts will measure the room and create a 3D model with a special software program on the computer. All necessary materials and walls will be manufactured at the production site in Bremen. When all preliminary work is done, the technical experts will schedule a date with the client in order to build in the individual and prefabricated parts. Therefore, the team will arrive in the morning, build in all parts and leave already in the evening.

Don´t you hope that the “Day X” will never come, where the clients have to use the SAFE ROOM?

Of course I do! But even if the client never has to use the SAFE ROOM, it is my experience that having a SAFE ROOM in the house creates kind of a peace of mind for the client and the whole family.

Mr. Leidel, thank you very much for your time and the interview.

FAMILY OFFICE ELITE Interview with Sven Leidel; an expert for HNWI/UHNWI Risk Mitigation & Protection Strategies


OSRINT – Open Source Risk Intelligence

Do you know, what kind of private information are available in public sources about you and your family members, which could be of a risk and used by criminals?

FAMILY OFFICE ELITE spoke with Sven Leidel, an expert for HNWI/UHNWI Risk Mitigation & Protection Strategies located in Hamburg, Germany.

Mr. Leidel, please tell us about your professional security background and introduce yourself to our readers!

I was born in 1968 in Hamburg, Germany and I am a German citizen. As a former member of the German military police, I have been dealing with the topic of protection and security since 1988. Today I am involved, as an honorary member, in various national and international security and professional associations in advisory and executive functions. I am a professional lecturer and trainer, facilitator and specialist author, security consultant and expert in the field of protection strategies for exposed individuals. I have gained extensive expertise from more than 25 years of industry and professional experience and I have operated in numerous foreign assignments and projects in Europe, North America, Latin America as well as parts of Asia. My longtime customers include many major national and international corporations and insurance companies as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, exposed private individuals, family offices and family foundations as well as entrepreneurial families and high net worth individuals. Last but not least, I am an author and editor of two books in respect of Travel Risk Management; see (English) and (German).

What is OSRINT?

OSRINT stands for Open Source Risk Intelligence. It is probably the most innovative way of identifying risks and critical content in respect of a specific target (person or company) in public sources. In order to be efficient in the most possible way, the internet search is done and supported by a 24/7 operating crawler technology. This advanced monitoring technology helps to identify and track personal data online in open sources, that might also be useful for criminals. In addition, experienced risk analysts work as ‘human filters’ to identify threats and sensitive details in public sources on a 24/7 basis. Another part of OSRINT is the removal of critical data from the internet and other online sources, or if a removal is not possible, the displace of such content. Especially in today’s world where media and online outlets can ruin a reputation in a matter of minutes, it is important to always be one step ahead and have the latest monitoring technology in place.

Please tell us about a typical client case!

A family office is reaching out to us, asking for a confidential face-to-face meeting with one of their exclusive FO clients. The client asks us to find out, what kind of private and critical details are available in public sources about himself and his family members. All we get from him is his first and his family name; nothing else. Now it is our job to try to find out as much as possible about the target; pretty much the same way criminals would start in order to identify possible victims.

In one specific case, the HNWI did mention that he has already maintained a “low profile” for many years and he was sure that we should not be able find any pictures from him, no names and no pictures of his family members and maybe just a handful of companies that he is involved in. He did not even tell us how many children he has, nor any details in respect of his residence home and vacation real estates he might own. We agreed on 5 days of actual intense open source search from our end. Pretty quickly after starting the research, we found many critical details and put all the findings in a 45 pages’ written report. We ended up finding 27 pictures from himself, names and pictures of all his children and his wife, private addresses (residential and vacation), as well as 43 companies he and his relatives are currently involved in or he and his relatives were involved in in the past. You can imagine that the surprise was huge, when we presented the findings in a personal meeting. During the meeting we did receive the up order to conduct security audits at the residential and vacation houses in order to optimize the physical and electronical security measures and to assist in deleting critical details and information from public sources (internet). Since then, we are also monitoring the internet 24/7 with the latest crawler technology in order to make sure, that we identify critical details and content in the internet around the clock and automatically. This gives us the opportunity to react quickly and in a timely manner as soon as we (the crawler) have identified new critical content. Just recently we found out that his children did establish almost a handful new companies without consulting with their parents in the first place. Within the company registration process, the children made a mistake and used one of the family’s private address, which is absolutely not acceptable, because this is a weak point within the whole personal risk mitigation concept and strategy.

Can you really delete all data from the internet?

Of course not! Some data and content can be deleted from the internet or from specific homepages and probably the majority cannot.

For example, a solution could be … in connection with a reputation management strategy, those data and content that is in the internet and cannot be deleted, you can try to displace this content on the internet by a so called “positive story telling technique”. This means that you create positive and non-critical content for a specific target (person or company) and strategically place it in the internet on existing homepages / platforms or you create your own new blogs and webpages. On those platforms where you have total control over the content, you can pretty much publish all kind of true or false/fake details that you want or that you need for your protection strategy. That way you create “helpful content” in order to be positively rated by Google, Bing & Co. Having this said, this means that your own non-critical content will show up within the search results on the first couple of pages at the search engines. Unwanted content and details will be pushed back on the pages 5, 6 or even further back. It is our experience that most criminals just take a look at the findings on the pages 1 – 4.

In addition, you can track the traffic on your own blogs and webpages; we call this “The Honey Pot Concept”. Which gives you a good first idea, who is looking for your client, what kind of keywords are used for the search, what is the main interest, where is the person located, a.s.o..

What is a Honey Pot Concept?

Honey Pots are mainly used by IT security professionals in order to find out if hackers are interested in a certain IT landscape, where are they coming from, what kind of search and keywords are used, what kind of technology is used by the third party a.s.o..

Our Honey Pots are kind of modern traps. Like I already mentioned, we create blogs and homepages with a “specific real-fake content”, so people that are searching for a specific target (person or company) will get the search results within the search engine they use. As soon as they click on the search result, we are able to track their homepage visit and also their clicks and activities on the Honey Pot blog and homepage. We are able to see the country and city they are coming from, which online network they are using, how long they stay on the homepage, which additional content they have looked at and much more useful details. This is a risk indicator for us, that somebody is interested on specific information about a target. The information of interest could be the private address of the target, private activities / hobbies of the target and other critical details. In addition, you can spread false and fake details about a target, in order to blur the online traces and to make it more difficult for criminals to find real details and information in open sources. This is a very useful and effective protection concept.

Why is it so important to know what kind of Details are available in the Internet?

It is our experience that criminals also look first in the internet and try to find out as much as possible useful details about possible targets and victims. The more useful details they find and the easier it is to get access to those details, the more likely it is, that criminals will pick a so called “soft target” for their criminal activities (kidnapping, burglary, blackmailing, threatening …).

The goal of a comprehensive personal risk management is to become a “hard target”, in order to be unattractive and not of interest for criminals.

You can compare this with the following:

You do not have to install a tons of physical and technical security at your house, like they use at “Fort Knox”. Your house just needs to be more secured than the neighbor’s house. Criminals are looking for quick and easy wins, with hardly no risks of failure.

FOE: Thank you very much for the interview.