Why We Acquired Echosec Systems: The OSINT Revolution
Flashpoint CEO Josh Lefkowitz on the Echosec acquisition and the proven, foundational importance of open source intelligence
It’s our mission as intelligence providers to some of the world’s most discerning clients to help them stay ahead of the threats that could impede their focus on protecting their people, places, and assets everywhere.
Today thus marks a key moment in our evolution as a company. I’m delighted about our acquisition of Echosec Systems, whose team and technology are world class and whose intelligence will help us continue to help companies reduce risk holistically across teams.
Here’s why I’m so excited to be able to bring Echosec’s open-source, social media, and geospatial intelligence to a wider audience, and where we go from here.
The importance of OSINT
I began my career in the wake of 9/11 analyzing the activities of terrorist groups to support numerous national security investigations and prosecutions. My experiences in this domain spurred the recognition that open source intelligence (OSINT) could be an invaluable counterterrorism tool. When we realized that OSINT in the modern era couldn’t be done without automating data collection and analytics at scale, Flashpoint was born.
The online spaces where threat actors congregate and operate have evolved dramatically since the early 2000s and now include illicit communities, criminal marketplaces, paste sites, and foreign-language forums across the deep and dark web. Furthermore, there’s much intelligence to be gleaned from publicly available information (PAI) and OSINT derived from social media, including geospatial data, social sentiment, and other real-time information that can support mission requirements for national security, public safety, and commercial security teams.
Today, OSINT is a proven and foundational element to the intelligence community.
As Jennifer Ewbank, Deputy Director for Digital Innovation at the CIA, said recently: “Many questions that once had to be answered by more secretive intelligence collection are now answered with a few clicks on a mobile device.”
She added, “OSINT is the INT of first resort, informing every aspect of the intelligence community’s mission. When you think about the future of the intelligence business…you should first think about open source.”
And the most dynamic and impactful intelligence partners, like Flashpoint, are helping organizations leverage technology to harness OSINT at scale, organize it, classify it, make sense of it, and understand when action is warranted.
This is where Echosec is a leader in giving users the ability to leverage real-time OSINT to drive on-the-ground insights and action. Complemented by Flashpoint’s own OSINT and unique collections, this key acquisition continues our evolution as the leading provider of actionable intelligence, supporting cyber and physical security missions around the world.
Data, platform, and compliance
Echosec has built an extraordinarily intuitive and highly user-friendly platform that is helping some of the most demanding and discerning customers address a broad array of threats globally.
Echosec maintains broad coverage across critical social media platforms worldwide. Their OSINT provides security teams across the public and private sector localized situational awareness in faraway places, helping them better assess geopolitical risk, keep executives from harm, protect populations and places, and respond to crises in an informed and efficient manner.
In addition to best-in-class social media collections, Echosec has maintained a focus on ensuring compliance with all social media platforms. The company’s respect for privacy and security of data subjects was a key factor in our decision to acquire them and falls in line with our own policies. Both Flashpoint and Echosec share an ethos around the importance of ethical and compliant data access to be a trusted intelligence partner.
Mission and team
Additionally, the Echosec and Flashpoint missions are very well aligned—notably overlapping around the theme of protection. Our mission alignment is incredibly important as we move forward with the merged companies, as it will ensure continuity and clarity to both organizations’ current and future clients.
Our mission will continue to drive the choices we make as a company so that we can continue to help organizations protect what they value and cherish most, and to do our part to make the world a safer place.
Echosec’s team is a mighty one, and what they’ve built is incredible. I am so excited to bring on a team as talented as they are and whose culture- and mission-driven values align so well with ours.
The future is now
Buoyed by Echosec’s data, platform, and approach to compliance, coupled with our mutual and value/team alignment, Flashpoint is geared up for huge successes in the coming months and years.
Following on the heels of our Risk Based Security acquisition in January, the integration of Echosec further enables Flashpoint to empower CTI, vulnerability management, and corporate security teams to work together to detect, prioritize, and mitigate the threats across their organization to reduce overall risk more comprehensively.
In the weeks to come, as we integrate Echosec’s data and technology into the Flashpoint Suite, we can’t wait to share with our customer and peers our extended capabilities, delivering the world’s most robust combination of data, analytics, and automation across a wide range of security use cases.