Hetherington Group https://www.hetheringtongroup.com Expert Investigations and Intelligence Services Thu, 11 Jul 2019 20:09:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.1 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/cropped-Hg_Asset-1-32x32.png Hetherington Group https://www.hetheringtongroup.com 32 32 141851536 Hg’s Cynthia Hetherington Boosts Rocket Girls’ Cyber Knowledge at Kennedy Space Center https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/rocket-girls-camp/ Fri, 12 Jul 2019 09:44:04 +0000 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/?p=22080 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Paul Atkinson, Hg || Phone: 973.706.7525 || paul@hetheringtongroup.com

(Wanaque, NJ) Today, Cynthia Hetherington, Hg’s founder and president, will be training young women at the second annual Rocket Girls CyberSpace Camp at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Merritt Island, Florida. Sponsored by AT&T and Dakota State University’s CybHER program, over a dozen national leaders in cyber security will mentor 15 young girls, giving them a rocket boost to their knowledge of mapping the internet, forensic investigations, social engineering, cryptography, and open source intelligence.

The Rocket Girls will also get to tour the space center, see the space shuttle Atlantis, and share a meal with an astronaut. Ms. Hetherington will provide “hands-online” guided and assigned activities on the girls’ laptops, helping them explore and search the Internet, find profiles, and understand the intricacies of social media “friends.”

“On this 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, it is a tremendous honor to be mentoring Rocket Girls at the Kennedy Space Center,” noted Cynthia Hetherington. “As we now know, strong, intelligent women contributed significantly to this momentous human achievement, but it took a book and a movie nearly half a century later for them to be truly recognized. Getting girls excited about cyber security today plants the seeds for their shining future in whatever field they ultimately choose. There is no longer a place for “hidden figures” in our society, and I am pleased to help shed light on those who came before us and those who will follow.”

Dr. Pam Rowland and Dr. Ashley Podhradsky founded the CybHER program at Dakota State University (DSU) in 2013.  CybHER conducts activities at K-12 schools, science centers, and libraries and has reached over 10,000 girls and women. Each summer it hosts a GenCyber Girls in CybHER Security week-long camp for middle school girls where they explore all things cyber.

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About Cynthia Hetherington, MLS, MSM, CFE, CII

Cynthia Hetherington is the founder and president of Hetherington Group, a consulting, publishing, and training firm that leads in due diligence, corporate intelligence, and cyber investigations by keeping pace with the latest security threats and assessments. She has authored three books on how to conduct investigations, is the publisher of the newsletter, Data2know: Internet and Online Intelligence, and has trained over 180,000 investigators, security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies on best practices. In 2015, Ms. Hetherington founded the OSMOSIS Institute, which hosts the annual OSMOSIS Conference. Hundreds of investigators across the nation gain insights into Open Source Intelligence and receive training from the most recognized social media and open source experts in North America. Enterprising Women Magazine honored Ms. Hetherington with a 2019 Enterprising Woman of the Year Award. She was named the 2019 CybHER Warrior by CybHER, an Institute within the Dakota State University Madison Cyber Labs. Ms. Hetherington was shortlisted for the coveted 2019 Women in IT New York’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and is a 2019 Entrepreneur Of the Year New Jersey Award Finalist bestowed by Ernst & Young LLP’s Entrepreneur Of the Year Awards.

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EY Entrepreneur Of the Year Profile https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/hg-eoy-video/ Thu, 11 Jul 2019 13:10:37 +0000 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/?p=22023

“What an honor to be a finalist in the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 New Jersey Awards program.  A huge congrats the unstoppable Patrick Treacy, Co-founder, President and CEO of Onkos Surgical, in the Provider Services category!”

—Cynthia Hetherington, Founder & President of Hetherington Group

 

 

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Dataminr: Fin Focused. Fast, Broad & Deep https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/rm-dataminr/ Wed, 03 Jul 2019 09:05:26 +0000 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/?p=21450

By Rachel Kronenfeld, Hg’s Manager of Investigations

In this three-part blog series, we review three fee-based tools on the market today: Echosec, LifeRaft Navigator, and Dataminr. These reviews are based on actual Hg case studies that include monitoring a sensitive protest, a company’s event, and their executive team or brand reputation in the same month. We can say from experience where these products deliver, how easy they are to use, and how each is growing. For the review, we also interviewed account executives from some of these companies, to hear what they consider to be the strengths and opportunities lying ahead of them.

Last week, we reviewed LifeRaft Navigator and its ability to filter and exclude key term, date, or posts with specific geo-coordinates. This week, we focus our attention on Dataminr.

Dataminr

Dataminr is a U.S. company headquartered in New York, and an official partner with Twitter. The company delivers intelligence in corporate security, finance, public sector, news, and communications. Their access to real-time information and to Twitter’s full feed of users’ public posts are their strengths, allowing users to be notified instantly regarding high-impact events and breaking news— often before it hits the news.

How is this accomplished? With its powerful algorithm, Dataminr recognizes relevant posts and images before they are trending. News often breaks with a single person’s post, photo, or video. Word can take several minutes to travel to law enforcement or news services. For example, when we monitor a client’s London office location, we can see the chatter about a nearby shooting long before we discover the local news reporting on that shooting. Dataminr has several articles, case studies, and infographics available on its website providing further examples.

Dataminr is using its data to benefit the financial industry. Considered a fast growing fintech company, Dataminr has been used to detect trading signals to provide better financial decisions and opportunities. With its attention on the financial sector, the company has received impressive numbers in private equity funding, receiving investments and support from such companies as Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs. Dataminr tends to be in the public spotlight, as they continue to develop new technologies. It makes Dataminr one of the first to address changing global privacy laws, such as GDPR, and the effects it may have on the company and all its competitors.

Free Resources

While our reviewed tools make current awareness and monitoring more efficient and location-based searching possible, these tools aren’t to be solely relied upon. Be aware of which sources they cover and who their providers are. There are several free resources out there that can help you find the hard-to-reach content or the additional details your platform may not find. Use all of them to your advantage. Some free tools we love are BoardReader and Omgili for forum search platforms. We use Social Mention and Blog Search Engine for blog and microblog searching.

Closing Recommendations

The security industry is a 24x7x365 industry. Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or leaked company emails all are not confined to the workday hours of nine to five. Having a current awareness and monitoring tool notifying you around the clock can provide some peace of mind to you and to your client.

Our team highly recommends you subscribe to one of these products or a similar product. Ideally, for a range of coverage, you should subscribe to more than one product. While you have seen the capabilities these products have to offer, you have also seen that each has its unique strengths that can be valuable on a case-by- case basis. For example, when we were monitoring a far-right political demonstration, we turned to LifeRaft Navigator and Media Sonar for the online chatroom discussions. However, when we were looking for leaked photos from a company event or breaking global news, we turned to Dataminr for real-time content.

There is no one source that will tell you all the intelligence you need to know. It still takes several resources— and sometimes the research of a whole team of individuals—to holistically gather, analyze, and report intelligence in a timely effective matter.

Finally, be sure to keep up with changes to these products, including features added—and lost—due to changing privacy laws. Take advantage of a product’s free demonstrations, training, or webinars to keep your skills sharp. Keep up with emerging competitors, and all the free resources available to complement these powerhouse tools. Your account executives will deeply appreciate any feedback or suggestion you have to improve their product. They all are working to set the standard. Who better to inform them in their goal than we the users?

Are you an analyst or investigator looking for advanced training on Dataminr and other current awareness and monitoring tools? If so, check out Hg’s webinar series, where you can attend live sessions and receive CEUs or watch previously recorded sessions to beef up your OSINT skills.

 

Are you in need of current awareness and monitoring for your company’s executive officers, your brand, or your reputation? At Hg, we are experts in scanning social media platforms, surface, deep, and Dark Web mentions of personal identifiers, your brand, and intellectual property to keep you safe from online predators, protesters, and hackers. Learn how our team can help you mitigate risk at home and abroad.

 

Rachel Kronenfeld joined Hetherington Group in 2016 and is Hg’s Manager of Investigations and lead investigator. As a skilled and diverse analyst, she monitors current events and information on the Internet, identifies security threats, and conducts online risk assessment analyses for Hg’s clients. Ms. Kronenfeld conducts trainings for investigators and is a contributing writer to Hg’s newsletter, Data2Know. Her professional research specialty is Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) techniques.

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LifeRaft Navigator: Filter & Exclude in Hazardous Situations https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/rm-liferaft-navigator/ Thu, 27 Jun 2019 09:44:45 +0000 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/?p=21440 By Rachel Kronenfeld, Hg’s Manager of Investigations

In this three-part blog series, we review three fee-based tools on the market today: Echosec, LifeRaft Navigator, and Dataminr. These reviews are based on actual Hg case studies that include monitoring a sensitive protest, a company’s event, and their executive team or brand reputation in the same month. We can say from experience where these products deliver, how easy they are to use, and how each is growing. For the review, we also interviewed account executives from some of these companies, to hear what they consider to be the strengths and opportunities lying ahead of them.

Last week, we reviewed Echosec and its myriad useful functions for investigators tracking individuals, companies, or brands in real-time. This week, we focus our attention on LifeRaft Navigator.

LifeRaft Navigator

LifeRaft is another Canadian company, based in Nova Scotia. Its Navigator product has many of the features of Echosec, including saved geo-location- and non-geo-location-based searches, which LifeRaft calls “queries.” Creating and editing a query is fast and user-friendly. You can also duplicate a query and edit from there, which can be helpful if you have a strong keyword list you would like to work from for more than one client. Navigator also has the ability to filter by, or exclude, geo-keywords and keywords. Notification settings can be set for only high-risk key terms or for all results. Having touched upon these standard features, we will discuss some of the additional strengths of Navigator.

One of our favorite features of Navigator is Social History. Social History is used for profile analytics, not for monitoring. Navigator downloads the history of a specific social media profile, including Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, VK, and Reddit. Within this history, a user can filter by key term, date, or posts with specific geo-coordinates, among other features. If you need to determine each time a specific Twitter user mentioned a threatening term, your company name, your executive’s name, or your brand, you can search against the profile and see each mention.

Navigator has introduced a number of new features including a global awareness search for events and news media. This caters to the physical security of people, assets, and infrastructure—alerting you to national disasters, major transit issues, HAZMAT events, terrorist attacks, or other global issues.

Navigator’s platform has Deep Web and Dark Web search capabilities. Deep Web searches aggregate content to find examples from paste sites, anonymous chat boards, classifieds, and blogs. This capability adds another layer to your search to find someone selling your product or damaging your brand.

With Navigator’s Dark Web search capability, the platform captures cached Dark Net content that appears on TOR, I2P, Freenet, and Zeronet sites and can be narrowed down by email addresses, data leaks, and other filters. Here we have found leaked company information or email conversations as well as concerning discussions regarding extremist groups attending an upcoming protest.

Is this a complex interface? It is. You may need demos or training sessions to get maximum benefits from Navigator’s features. LifeRaft account representatives are quite knowledgeable about their Navigator platform; and, with their guidance, you’ll discover the interface to be quite user friendly.

Check in next week, when we review Dataminr.

Are you an analyst or investigator looking for advanced training on LifeRaft Navigator and other current awareness and monitoring tools? If so, check out Hg’s webinar series, where you can attend live sessions and receive CEUs or watch previously recorded sessions to beef up your OSINT skills.

 

Are you in need of current awareness and monitoring for your company’s executive officers, your brand, or your reputation? At Hg, we are experts in scanning social media platforms, surface, deep, and Dark Web mentions of personal identifiers, your brand, and intellectual property to keep you safe from online predators, protesters, and hackers. Learn how our team can help you mitigate risk at home and abroad.

 

Rachel Kronenfeld joined Hetherington Group in 2016 and is Hg’s Manager of Investigations and lead investigator. As a skilled and diverse analyst, she monitors current events and information on the Internet, identifies security threats, and conducts online risk assessment analyses for Hg’s clients. Ms. Kronenfeld conducts trainings for investigators and is a contributing writer to Hg’s newsletter, Data2Know. Her professional research specialty is Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) techniques.

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How to Ensure an Investment Opportunity is Legit https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/business-ventures-swot/ Wed, 26 Jun 2019 09:35:36 +0000 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/?p=21320

Unlike personal assets, business assets offer so many opportunities for locating property, accounts, sub-contracts, and maybe even off-shore dollars. Few companies are too small or unsophisticated to figure out how to move money outside the U.S. or how to hide money in unspecified columns in their own accounting paperwork. Keeping money in-country but hidden isn’t that complicated either.

In this 7-part series, we get into the nitty gritty of how Hg conducts business asset investigations for our clients. Last week, we looked at asset investigations for employment purposes. In this final post, we dive into investment opportunities and new business ventures.

When an entity is considering a business relationship with another entity, it is prudent to establish the strengths of that particular company or individual. Researching and assessing a corporation’s financial strength is not much different from an individual’s financial check. Corporate financial reports are published by D&B and Experian. They offer their own indicators as to a corporation’s financial strength, based on the payment history submitted by vendors, annual sales and revenue reported, and risk indicators determined by industry.

Investigating the financial strength of a company can be quantified by SWOT Analysis: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat are the indicators devised by observing and analyzing how a company fairs by itself, in its markets, and in comparison to similar companies.

For example, a shoe manufacturer may demonstrate strength (particularly in cash flow), because of paying vendor invoices within 30 days, opposed to 120 days. A weakness can be noted, if a company reports only $1.2 million in sales, when other shoe manufacturers of similar size are reporting $4 million and more. But if the end product is good, there is opportunity of acquisition. In other words, the company has the talent in place but is not reaching the channels and market to the fullest extent. Finally, a threat can be seen if the shoe manufacturer has filed for bankruptcy, has been delisted, or has demonstrated poor financial health, such as extended credit problems.

From the Archives: An Hg Case Study

A new client asked that I vet out a potential investor. During the course of my interview with the client, I learned his firm was contacted via email from an overseas investor and offered a few million dollars to buy into a partnership with the client company. My gut reaction was to tell him this was a spam email—a phishing expedition for anyone who would reply. But he was adamant I take the case, so I did.

There was limited information about the other party. The person making the offer was from Pakistan and supposedly was part of a multi-national firm involved in petroleum, automobiles, technology and financial industries. The firm claimed to have almost 17,000 employees and 1.7 billion in revenues.

First, I attempted to locate the firm through Bureau of van Dijk, Skyminder, D&B, and other databases. Nothing turned up. This immediately raised a red flag, because any company of that size and profitability would have a credit history and business reports. Further research on the company name in the news did not reveal any matches. Finally, using one of my Internet resources, I found the company name appearing on a listing of known spammers and proved my gut instinct was right, saving my new client the loss of financial security.

That’s not to say that all potential investment opportunities reveal fraudulent activity, however. In that same week, I was hired to research the background of a small company interested in investing in a new venture my client was spinning off. He asked that I check the credentials of the potential investor. I thought, “Here we go again!” But to my surprise, the “little venture company” was a side practice for Berkshire Hathaway Group. My client doubled the amount of money he was going to request from the venture firm after learning the firm was a big player and could afford larger risks.

Sometimes my gut gets it wrong, and good investigative skills are worth their weight in gold.

Cynthia Hetherington, MLS, MSM, CFE, CII is the founder and president of Hetherington Group, a consulting, publishing, and training firm that leads in due diligence, corporate intelligence, and cyber investigations by keeping pace with the latest security threats and assessments. She has authored three books on how to conduct investigations, is the publisher of the newsletter, Data2know: Internet and Online Intelligence, and annually trains thousands of investigators, security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies on best practices in the public and private sectors.

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Echosec: A Monitoring Tool for a Target-rich Environment https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/rm-echosec/ Thu, 20 Jun 2019 09:18:04 +0000 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/?p=21426 By Rachel Kronenfeld, Hg’s Manager of Investigations

Millions of conversations are happening daily online, potentially regarding the individuals, companies, or brands you, the investigative professional, are working to protect. The rapid increase in the use of social media and other online platforms to share information has already grabbed the attention of the majority of security, intelligence, or brand reputation teams. There is an overall consensus that current awareness and monitoring are vital components of any research or security process.

Current awareness and monitoring tools help aggregate and filter large amounts of information to present the content being sought in a short amount of time. Today’s current awareness tools are capable of aggregating a number of social networks, blogs, traditional media, paste bins, and even Dark Web conversations. Once only a few companies in the market, these now number in the hundreds—each with its own unique strengths. Several before them have failed to keep up with rapidly changing technology and privacy laws surrounding the information legally accessible online.

In this three-part blog series, we review three fee-based tools on the market today: Echosec, LifeRaft Navigator, and Dataminr. These reviews are based on actual Hg case studies that include monitoring a sensitive protest, a company’s event, and their executive team or brand reputation in the same month. We can say from experience where these products deliver, how easy they are to use, and how each is growing. For the review, we also interviewed account executives from some of these companies, to hear what they consider to be the strengths and opportunities lying ahead of them.

This week, we focus our attention on Echosec.

Echosec

Based in Victoria, BC, Canada, Echosec has a large amount of data providers across a diverse set of platforms. A quick search can be performed by location, username, key word, or data type. The quick search is great for breaking news. Echosec’s advanced search is fast and user friendly, generating a combination of Boolean and logic for you such as a keyword within a location or a username within a location.

Echosec’s map view generates a clear picture of the activity coming from a particular location. Beyond regional tags, you can further filter by content that has only a precise geotag. Several tools on the market using geo-location-based searching have an Open Street View map. Echo- sec has additional map layers including ESRI word topography and satellite maps. Satellite maps have proved useful in several cases, e.g., where we need to see what a building or the surrounding area, in general, looks like to report the information to our client. (Yes, you could use Google satellite view, but it takes time. Analysts often cannot wait when dealing with a time-sensitive issue.)

Once a quick search is saved, keyword filters can be applied. Using the Must Include and the Must Not Include options will give more accurate results. For example, if you are saving a search using your executive’s name and the word “shoot,” you may notice you are receiving results for someone with your executive’s name who just did a photo shoot. By choosing to exclude the word photo, you are filtering out unnecessary noise. Another unique feature is Filter By Object. Using this feature can be valuable, e.g., someone may not say the word “gun,” but may have posted a photo of a gun. Echosec’s strengths for brand reputation include the ability to filter posts by date, popular hashtags, or words most used.

For effective current awareness, notification settings are an important component. Echosec allows you or your team members to be notified by email when you save a search and add alert filters. Email notifications contain the necessary content you need, plus the direct link back into Echosec or to the original post for quick access.

Echosec has made it clear that they are here to stay, having a strong partnership with their providers and paying careful attention to privacy policies. According to company sources, in the next two years, Echosec intends to expand their Artificial Intelligence capacity: The company is currently working on an A.I. Pattern Recognition and Source Deception project and is focused on being the leader in Predictive Intelligence for Security and Business Intelligence.

Check in next week, when we review LifeRaft Navigator.

Are you an analyst or investigator looking for advanced training on Echosec and other current awareness and monitoring tools? If so, check out Hg’s webinar series, where you can attend live sessions and receive CEUs or watch previously recorded sessions to beef up your OSINT skills.

 

Are you in need of current awareness and monitoring for your company’s executive officers, your brand, or your reputation? At Hg, we are experts in scanning social media platforms, surface, deep, and Dark Web mentions of personal identifiers, your brand, and intellectual property to keep you safe from online predators, protesters, and hackers. Learn how our team can help you mitigate risk at home and abroad.

 

Rachel Kronenfeld joined Hetherington Group in 2016 and is Hg’s Manager of Investigations and lead investigator. As a skilled and diverse analyst, she monitors current events and information on the Internet, identifies security threats, and conducts online risk assessment analyses for Hg’s clients. Ms. Kronenfeld conducts trainings for investigators and is a contributing writer to Hg’s newsletter, Data2Know. Her professional research specialty is Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) techniques.

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Felons?! Do Your Research. https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/felons-employment/ Wed, 19 Jun 2019 09:19:20 +0000 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/?p=21319

Unlike personal assets, business assets offer so many opportunities for locating property, accounts, sub-contracts, and maybe even off-shore dollars. Few companies are too small or unsophisticated to figure out how to move money outside the U.S. or how to hide money in unspecified columns in their own accounting paperwork. Keeping money in-country but hidden isn’t that complicated either.

In this 7-part series, we get into the nitty gritty of how Hg conducts business asset investigations for our clients. Last week, we discussed how investigators can find prior ownership of an old asset such as a product or property. This week, we look at asset investigations for employment purposes.

An employer needs to understand the financial strength of a candidate for an upper management position or a high-level accounting and financial position. If a company is going to trust the new hire with its financial records, vehicles, and office equipment, it will want to ensure that the person is reasonably financially secure. Indicators of a troubled worker will appear in a credit report as collection agency notices, bankruptcies, and severely late payments to vendors.

But investigating for employment purposes is not limited to FICA-Medicare employees. This type of investigation can include many “employee-employer relationships.” How well do you know your tax accountant? Your physician? Your investment advisor? Are they fully licensed? Have they ever filed bankruptcy? Handing over your physical and financial health to just anyone who hangs a shingle can be risky business.

Take my friend’s experience to heart. Usually when friends and relatives ask me to conduct an investigation or to “do a little research,” I pass them over to another investigator. On one of my weaker moments, however, I couldn’t help but respond to a friend’s bad tax story. He had received the call we, as Americans, all dread: The IRS. As it turned out, my friend’s accountant had misfiled his last two years of taxes, and he was informed that he owed an additional $10,000 to the IRS. I offered to “do a little research” on the guy and see what I could turn up.

In less than 20 minutes, I called my friend back to verify the spelling of the accountant’s name. Correct in my spelling, I had to tell him that he had been cheated by an accountant without a license to practice in his state. The state consumer affairs office did not have his name listed in their database, and a phone call to their customer service elaborated that he license had been revoked.

When I asked what lead to him losing his license, the friendly representative stated, “Oh … felons can’t obtain their license without going through a panel review first.”

Felons?!

I did a name search on the Bureau of Prisons website and sure enough, I had a match. My friend’s accountant had been convicted on drug possession charges and served almost 12 months. Later, I followed up with a media search and discovered a story about an arrest of three men charged with possession and intent to sell cocaine within a school district. My friend’s accountant was one of the three.

Unfortunately, this did provide a reduction in the IRS bill, but my unfortunate friend learned to vet the people he does business with, for no matter how polished them may seem, they could be fraudsters.

Cynthia Hetherington, MLS, MSM, CFE, CII is the founder and president of Hetherington Group, a consulting, publishing, and training firm that leads in due diligence, corporate intelligence, and cyber investigations by keeping pace with the latest security threats and assessments. She has authored three books on how to conduct investigations, is the publisher of the newsletter, Data2know: Internet and Online Intelligence, and annually trains thousands of investigators, security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies on best practices in the public and private sectors.

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Hg’s Cynthia Hetherington to Present at Los Alamos National Laboratory https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/lanl-presentation/ Tue, 18 Jun 2019 12:56:37 +0000 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/?p=21445 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Paul Atkinson, Hg || Phone: 973.706.7525 || paul@hetheringtongroup.com

Ms. Hetherington discusses the nefarious world of the Dark Web

(Wanaque, NJ) Today, Cynthia Hetherington, founder and president of Hetherington Group (Hg), will giving the presentation, Understanding the Dark Web: Get an Inside Tour of this Nefarious World, to security experts at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence—performing work for the United States Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and Department of Homeland Security, among other entities and agencies. Their experts focus on developing and implementing strategies across a multitude of security areas, including nuclear security, intelligence, defense, emergency response, nonproliferation, counterterrorism, energy security, emerging threats, and environmental management.

Ms. Hetherington’s presentation focuses on the rapidly increasing security threats lurking on the Dark Web—classified as a small portion of the World Wide Web that has been intentionally hidden and is inaccessible through standard web browsers. There is an overall consensus that current awareness and monitoring on the Dark Web are vital components of any research or security process. Security analysts enter and search on the Dark Web for leads to possible terrorist threats, national security risks, and human trafficking rings, among other nefarious criminal acts.

“Darknet sites are often put up and taken down in a matter of minutes, specifically to maintain anonymity,” Ms. Hetherington explains. “Understanding this dark world of global criminal behavior is vital to our national security. It’s an honor to present at Los Alamos, whose security experts are at the forefront of protecting the homeland.”

Since 1998, Ms. Hetherington has trained over 180,000 corporate security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies in online intelligence practices. Her most recent clients include the U.S. Department Overseas Security Advisory Council; U.S. Department of Defense; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations; U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency; NY Mass Transit Authority, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and The Ministry of Justice of The Hague, Netherlands.

Ms. Hetherington’s presentation will examine the Dark Web, the channels used to institute private sales and exchanges, criminal behavior conducted on the Dark Web, and examine Dark Web languages like Tor and Tails. For more information on the Dark Web, download Hg’s Dark Web Primer here.

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Hg’s Cynthia Hetherington to Present at ACFE Global Fraud Conference https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/acfe-fraudconf/ Mon, 17 Jun 2019 16:09:24 +0000 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/?p=21323 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Paul Atkinson, Hg || Phone: 973.706.7525 || paul@hetheringtongroup.com

Ms. Hetherington discusses the ins and outs of global online due diligence

(Wanaque, NJ) Cynthia Hetherington, founder and president of Hetherington Group (Hg), will be presenting a session on Global Online Due Diligence at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)’s 30th Annual Global Fraud Conference to be held June 23-28 in Austin, Texas.

The ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education. Together with more than 85,000 members, the ACFE is reducing business fraud worldwide and inspiring public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession.

Hetherington Group, a consulting, publishing, and training firm that leads in due diligence, corporate intelligence, and cyber investigations by keeping pace with the latest security threats and assessments. Ms. Hetherington has authored three books on how to conduct investigations and annually trains over 7,200 investigators, security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies on best practices.

For more than 25 years, Ms. Hetherington has led national and international investigations in corporate due diligence and fraud, personal asset recovery, and background checks. With a specialization in the financial, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications industries, her investigations have recovered millions of dollars in high profile corruption cases, assisting on the investigations of the top two Ponzi cases in United States history.

Ms. Hetherington’s session will review available databases and open sources for a variety of countries to conduct international due diligence and background checks. For more information on Ms. Hetherington’s Fraud Investigation and Remediation session, click here.

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An Hg Case Study: Tracking Down Prior Ownership https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/prior-ownership/ Wed, 12 Jun 2019 14:06:35 +0000 https://www.hetheringtongroup.com/?p=21313

Unlike personal assets, business assets offer so many opportunities for locating property, accounts, sub-contracts, and maybe even off-shore dollars. Few companies are too small or unsophisticated to figure out how to move money outside the U.S. or how to hide money in unspecified columns in their own accounting paperwork. Keeping money in-country but hidden isn’t that complicated either.

In this 7-part series, we get into the nitty gritty of how Hg conducts business asset investigations for our clients. Last week, we discussed how investigators can protect investors from potential fraud by locating a project’s funding party or mysterious new investor. This week, we discuss finding prior ownership of an old asset such as a product or property.

This type of business assets investigation is more likely to happen in property cases. If a company purchases a property from another, the purchasing company needs to search for all liens against the property to ensure it is not buying bad debt.

The purchasing company also needs to conduct a geographical survey of the land, because it could be getting more than it has bargained for. Many early industrial plants stationed near waterways, railroads, and major byways were unregulated polluters that created toxic-waste areas now designated as superfund sites. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forces the current land owner to clean up the area, resulting in millions of dollars in expenses that the owner may not have anticipated. In Hg’s home state of New Jersey, there are 116 superfund sites—the highest in the country. Followed by California (98), Pennsylvania (95), and New York (93).

Another issue of concern is potential claims against an old product, such as a worker’s tool. What if the product fails and the worker is injured? Who is sued? The former owner of the company, or the new owner?

In both cases, an asset search is required. As in the case of a superfund, the current company needs to know where to send the cleanup bill, and in the case of the failed product, the investigator needs to track down the manufacturer of the failed product so attorneys know where to file suit.

From the Archives: An Hg Case Study

Because the Garden State is marred with so much contaminated land, it’s no wonder Hg often takes on superfund asset cases.

Some time ago, one of Hg’s company clients had moved into a plan that was situated in an urban area of New Jersey. Ten years later, the EPA inspected the grounds and declared the property a superfund site. The current manufacturer was producing a non-toxic product. Historical research on the building showed that the original factory was used as a smelting factory. All the burn-off of the metals had leeched into the ground and poisoned the ground water. The company hired me to locate the owners of the original plant.

A deed search was straightforward, showing who owned the property. The difficulty was that the deed owners were companies that changed hands year after year, and the assets and liabilities were split. The original firm was Jersey Smelting from the 1860s. It was sold to a large, publicly traded firm that merged, split, and was bought and sold more than a half dozen times, because the company kept shifting and growing.

Two sources were really instrumental in my search for this company’s ownership: Moody’s Investor Services and local newspapers. Luckily, my former librarian self was adept at using the microfilm and microfiche machines at my local public library. I spent countless hours sitting in front of the machines, spooling through issue after issue of newspapers for any mention of the building location, any fires, events, sales, etc.

One piece really jumped out and helped clear up something the attorney had presumed as truth based on a history book of manufacturers in the city during the mid-1800s. She read that Jersey Smelting was sold to Paterson Smelting, leading her down a rabbit’s hole trying to track down information from state archives for an entire day. To no avail, she couldn’t confirm that a sale had occurred.

An article I had found on microfiche contradicted her version. In scanning the original newspapers, I discovered the book’s author was incorrect in saying the company had been sold. The newspaper stated that the Jersey Smelting factory was leased, not sold, to Paterson Smelting. Hence, the assets were still with Jersey Smelting until it merged with a completely different company, which later sold its smelting practice to a foreign corporation.

Cynthia Hetherington, MLS, MSM, CFE, CII is the founder and president of Hetherington Group, a consulting, publishing, and training firm that leads in due diligence, corporate intelligence, and cyber investigations by keeping pace with the latest security threats and assessments. She has authored three books on how to conduct investigations, is the publisher of the newsletter, Data2know: Internet and Online Intelligence, and annually trains thousands of investigators, security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies on best practices in the public and private sectors.

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