Vermont Patent of the Month – January 2021

Social media is used to share content like pictures and tweets and maintain social connections. This type of data creates a log of our connections, our locations, and – if we post them – our opinions and thoughts. Social Sentinel, Inc. saw this available information as an opportunity to increase security. It’s becoming commonplace for social media users to post vague or anonymous content that suggests a threat to a person or organization. Social Sentinel developed a system to detect relationships between a threatening post, its author, and the target; making it easier to directly address the threat.

With this system, content is regularly monitored on social network applications and assessed for threats. During this monitoring, relationships between authors and the target of their post are stored in a database. If a threat is detected, the post is checked against this database to see if the relationship is already known. While an author can occasionally be identified directly from the content, these posts are more often anonymous.  The program uses past behavior and other information to determine a relationship between the author and the target of the threat. They look at information like locational data and the users proximity to the enterprise. Other information includes if the author has any social connections with a relation to the target. For instance, if the author’s friend was employed by the targeted company. This final relationship information is then shared with the target to assist with mitigating any threats. Social media is a compromise between social connections and privacy by making our information publicly available. Social Sentinel wants to make sure this compromise is used in positive ways and increases our security.

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