Need a Specialized String Matcher for Tracking Entities?

January 21, 2020

Specialized services are available to track strings; for example, the name of an entity (person, place, event), an email handle, or any other string. These services may not be offered to the public. A potential customer has to locate a low profile operation, go through a weird series of interactions, and then work quite hard to get a demo of the super stealthy technology. Once the “I am a legitimate customer” drill is complete, the individual wanting to use the stealthy service has to pay hundreds, thousands, or even more per month. In our DarkCyber video program we have profiled some of these businesses.

No more.

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The technology and possibly a massive expansion of monitoring is poised to make tools reserved for government agencies available to anyone with an Internet connection and a credit card. Brandchirps.com provides:

Online reputation management monitoring. The idea is that when the string entered in the standing query service appears, the user will be modified. The company says:

We allow you to input your brand, your name, or other data so you make sure your reputation stays up to date.

The service tracks competitors too. The service is easy to use:

Simply enter your competitor’s names and keep track of what they are doing right, or doing wrong!

How much does the service cost? Are we talking a letter verifying that you are working for law enforcement or an intelligence agency? A six figure budget? A staff of technologists.

Nope.

The cost of the service (as of January 20, 2020) is:

  • $7 per month for five keywords
  • $16 per month for 20 keywords

Several observations:

  • The cost for this service which allegedly monitors the Web and social media is very low. Government organizations strapped for cash are likely to check out this service.
  • The system does not cover the Dark Web and other “interesting” content, but that could be changed by licensing data sets from specialists, assuming legal and financial requirements of the Dark Web content aggregators can be negotiated by Brandchirps.
  • It is not clear at this time if the service monitors metadata on images and videos, podcast titles, descriptions, and metadata, or other high-value content.
  • The world of secret monitoring and alerts has become more accessible which can inspire innovators to make use of this tool in novel ways.

Net net: Brandchirps is one more example of a technique once removed from general public access that has lost its mantle of secrecy. Will this type of service force the hand of specialized vendors? Yep.

Stephen E Arnold, January 21, 2020

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