Babel Street Global Threat Monitoring Tool Examined

By: Brian Karas, Published on Jul 27, 2017

Intelligence on potential threats and terrorist attacks can often be found online hours, or days, before an actual event, particularly in obscure chat rooms or areas of the "dark web". However, mining information from these sources is resource intensive, and challenging given the number of languages that can be involved when dealing with global sites. One company, Babel Street, claims to address this problem, with an advanced linguistic parsing engine processing feeds from hundreds of information sources. 

Babel Street's founder and CEO met with IPVM at the NCS4 conference, where their product won a "Golden Eagle" award, to provide details on his company, and their approach to processing big data feeds to generate alerts of potential security threats. In this report we analyze Babel Street's platform and applications in the security industry.

Babel ****** ******* ********

*** ******* *** ******* in **** ** ** Naval ************ ******* **** ******* [link ** ****** *********]. Babel ****** *** ****** ~$3M ** ******* *******, but *** ****** **** self-sufficient ***********. ******* *** employees, ~*/* ** ***********, work *** ** ***** Reston, **. ******.

*** ********* ***** ***** a ****-***** ******** ** how ***** ****** ********* themselves:

Product ********

***** ******'* **** ******* is ******** **** ** enhanced ******* ** ****** Alerts. ***** ******** *** been ********* ** ***** multiple ********* (****** ***+) to **** *** **** key *****, *** **** tone ** ********* ** ***** on ****** ***** ********* and **** *******. *** system ** ************ ******* to * ****** ** 18 ********* *** ******* says *** **** ********* by *********, ***** ** can ********** ****** ***** terms ** ******** **** is **** ******** ** these *********. **** **** Google ******, ***** *** specify *** *****, *******, or ********** ** ******** or ******** ****** ** messages, *** **** ******* alerts **** ***** ******** are ***.

Sources *********

***** ****** ***** *** following **** ******* ** examples ** ***** **** currently *** ***** *** interpret **** ****:

  • *********
  • ***
  • ********
  • *********
  • ********
  • *******
  • **** ****** *******

************, *** ******* *** monitor *** **** *****, as **** ** "**** Web" **** ****** **** as "****** *******" *** "Intel ********".

**** **** ****** ******, users *** ******* *** words, *******, ** ********** of ******** ** ******** intent ** ********, *** then ******* ****** **** those ******** *** ***.

** ******** ** ****** Alerts, ***** ****** **** their ****** ** **** real ****, *** *** also ***** ***** ** search ********* ******* ** non-public *******. ************, ***** Street **** ********* * ****'* request ** ** ******* on * ****** **** as "********* ******" **** multiple ********* *************, ******** wording ** ******* ** phrases ************* ** ******* the **** *******. ***** can **** ******* ***-***********, such ** ** *** alerts **** **** *** post ********** ****** * 1 **** ****** ** their ********.

***** ******* *** ****** alerts **** ***** ******'* system ** * *****-***** UI, ***** *** **** geo-location of ***** *** ******** post/tweet/story ********** ****, ******** topics, ** ******* *****. The ******** *** **** apply * ********* ***** to *** **** ******* the *****, ********** *** positive ** ******** ** interprets *** **** ** the **** ** **.

***** ****** **** **** much ** *** **** from *** ***** ** analyzes, ******** ***** ** search ********* ** *** other **** **** *** have **** ********** ****** by *** ** **** sources ****** *** ****** text **** ********* ** alert. **** *** **** security ******** ********** ***** events *** ********* ** activity ******* ** ** some ***** ***** ** text *******.

Target *****

********* ** ***** ******'* CEO, ****** ***** *** typically ****** *************, ********* municipalities, ************, *******/************** *********, and ******* *** **** companies. ******* *** ******** is ******** ** **** real-time ******, ***** **** typically **** ****-**** ********* security ********* *** *** take ******* ** ****** received.

Limited ************

***** ****** *** ** configured ** **** ****** into ***** ******** *********, however *** **** **** triggered *** ***** ********* has ** ** ******** in ***** ******'* *** interface. *** *** **** this ** *** ** restrictions ** *** ***** data **** ***** ******* the ******* **** ******* or ************ **** ******* outside ** ***** *********.

*****

******* ****** ** ~$*,***/**. and *** ***** ** to ********* ** ******* per *****. ******* ** typically *** ** * factor ** *** ****** of ****** * **** wants ** *******, *** the ****** ** ****/**** sources **** **** ** monitor.

Competitors ** ***** ******

******** ** ******* ** ***** Street, ****** **** ** is ******* ** ******* feeds ****. ***** ******** that ******* ****** ******** platforms, **** ** ******* ******** [link ** ****** *********], tend ** ***** **** on ******** ** ******/******* names, *** ***** **** flexibility *** *********** ****** alerts ** *** **** or *****. *** ******* of *** **** ****** for ********, ******* ** branding/marketing ********, ** * more ****** *****, *** more *********** *** ****** to ****** ** (** if) *** ***** *********** becomes *****.

** **** *** *** tested *** ** ***** platforms, ** ****** **** any ****** ***** ******** performance.

Comments (1)

Babel Street has one of the worst websites I have ever seen for a tech company.

It may or may not be a great product (I do not know) but the website really hurts it:

  • The website is literally one page only.
  • The product page section has very little information. It lists 5 paragraphs over a total of 13 paragraphs. It is hard to understand what they do or how they do it or what it includes.
  • There is no information on who the management is, if or how they are qualified. This is important to establish credibility. It just says this:

  • There is NO news news or press section to give any indication that this is an active company or that they are making progress or still in business.
  • Their explainer video is cryptic and does not explain or motivate why to use their offering. Related, their YouTube channel only has that 1 video from nearly 4 years ago.

I would assume they do a lot of selling direct to large customers but having a bad website reduces confidence and makes it harder for sales people.

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