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Monitoring Geopolitical Sentiment and Physical Threats During COVID-19

Dec 16, 2020 10:12:01 AM

The Challenge

A multinational energy company (the client) operating in a volatile, foreign nation was faced with threats of violence directed at its personnel and infrastructure. In the interest of safety, the client arranged for many of its personnel to depart the country. Complicating this situation, these threats occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic when manpower and operations were already severely impacted. The client engaged Nisos to ensure the protection of the remaining manpower and facilities. Specifically, Nisos was asked to monitor online geopolitical sentiment from nation states directed towards the client’s operations and personnel and provide insight and guidance as necessary.

Why Nisos

The client’s need to reduce manpower during COVID-19 adversely impacted physical security operations and community engagement resources. Due to a high volume of threats being directed at the client, they needed Nisos to access closed forums and monitor the local population’s sentiment. Nisos was asked to identify and differentiate between real threats, sophisticated threats, and random, less impactful “noise.” This adversary insight was deemed highly important and delivered more insight than commercially available tools and social media monitoring technologies were able to provide. In addition, nation states and state-owned enterprises were gaining influence with local police and political personnel. The client was worried about these influences derailing ongoing community engagement projects critical to the local population.


Nisos operators conducted in-depth research and analysis on historical social media content to identify key influencers and the tactics used by threat actors to garner support and promote acts of violence. Nisos analysts also worked closely with the client to map out relationships between adversaries in both the physical and digital worlds, used open source investigation techniques, and gained access to online closed communities to broaden the client’s awareness of evolving threats. In addition, Nisos mapped new associations between malicious nation state personnel and local political authorities, alerted the client to their growing influence with political powers, and identified changes in popular sentiment within the local population.


Nisos tracked hundreds of online personas, groups, forums, social media pages, local and regional media outlets, blogs, and forums. This allowed analysts to identify legitimate threats to the client and ensure their limited physical security and community engagement resources were properly allocated and tasked during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to providing routine intelligence, Nisos analysts responded to immediate requests for information (RFIs), including attribution and diligence investigations surrounding possible insider threats, imminent attacks, and foreign contracts being improperly influenced by local political officials.


Using the daily, weekly, and monthly intelligence reports provided by Nisos, the client was able to significantly increase its awareness of the threat landscape, local sentiment, and foreign nation state influence on local political leaders. In addition to being better prepared to manage threats, the client used its enhanced understanding of community sentiment to adjust multi-million dollar community outreach programs and public relations campaigns to better achieve company goals and align with the local community.

Topics: COVID

Written by Nisos

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