How Five Stones Intelligence uses Videris to add value and see the bigger picture
By Rebecca Lindley
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About Five Stones intelligence
5 Stones intelligence (5Si)® is a leading Professional Services company based in Miami, Florida, with offices throughout the world. 5Si offers intelligence collection and analysis, global investigations, and operations support for governments and corporations. In 2021, 5Si played a defining role in a high-profile investigation into professional sports integrity in the US.
Identifying network connections has always been central to the 5Si’s intelligence team’s investigations. Publicly available social media forms a large part of this work as it allows investigators to understand large networks and the key individuals within them. However, says Gregg Popick, Director of Special Projects at 5Si, “conducting these investigations manually was time-consuming and tedious”. 5Si had to take manual security precautions to ensure that subjects of investigation were not tipped off and that investigators’ identities were not revealed to them.
Before procuring Videris, 5Si was using a number of different tools to collate the data they needed, including adverse news databases, public records databases, search engines and publicly accessible social media. They were also using analytic and visualisation tools to make sense of the data, but without a centralised way of accessing these tools, 5Si’s investigators needed to pull together the results of many separate queries manually.
5Si quickly saw that Videris was more user-friendly than many alternatives, with simple and quick onboarding resulting in fast ROI. Videris provided clear and fast solutions to 5Si’s problems, including:
- Centralised access to all sources – Mr. Popick describes Videris as a ‘one-stop shop’ for 5Si’s investigations, combining search engine data, social media, corporate records, and integrated premium databases such as Dow Jones Factiva for adverse news media.
- Automated network mapping – Videris allows 5Si’s investigators to view publicly available social media networks. ‘It’s assisted us so much’ says Popick ‘and, on the commercial side, Twitter has been a large part of one of our big investigations – it allows us to see who someone is friends with and what those people are tweeting about, to pull out themes and interests which can be important’.
- Deeper searching – Videris allows investigators to find key content that might not be easy to find through a standard search engine, such as foreign-language articles which may normally not appear in the first few pages of results.
Professional sports investigation success
For six years, 5Si played a key role in an investigation into illegal doping in professional sports, which came to a head in 2021. Videris was very useful in this investigation, allowing 5Si to map connections between targets to reveal suspicious patterns that would have been challenging to identify manually. As a result of 5Si’s detail-orientated work many individuals were indicted for their criminal activities and associations within the criminal networks identified.
A 30,000-foot view
Mr. Popick has no doubt that Videris has saved 5Si time in many investigations; it gives investigators a fast ’30,000-foot’ overview of a case, network or individual, allowing them to see the big picture and narrow the investigation down at speed.
This particularly benefits the 5Si team at the scoping stage of investigations: before onboarding a client, 5Si can use Videris to make a quick assessment about the scope of the project and whether they are able to assist effectively. By doing this in 10 minutes, instead of hours, 5Si can give a more accurate assessment of scope, avoiding wasted time or money.
The Videris ‘hourglass’
However, to Mr. Popick, the biggest advantage of Videris is that it allows for more thorough investigations. He describes Videris as an ‘hourglass’. Put simply, Videris allows investigations to filter out noise to find relevant information on the subject of investigation, then expand on this information for a comprehensive overview of the subject. ‘It’s a timesaver for sure’ he adds, ‘but it can also give us additional range that means we can provide clients with a value-added service”.
5 Stones intelligence has been so impressed by the wide-ranging functionality available through Videris that they have partnered with Blackdot Solutions in order to pursue additional opportunities in the US. Together, they are aiming to provide transformative OSINT software and services to more customers across the US.
Learn more about 5Si
Find out more about Five Stones Intelligence here.