The main task of executive protection is to detect and defuse attacks in their preparation phase in order to avoid the enormous risks involved in the reaction, both for the executive and for the escorts.
One of the fundamental preventive activities is to protect all the information that can be critical for the executive's security, in this sense, the care of the protected person's telephone number becomes a headache for executive protection specialists. We know that, in many Latin American countries, criminals, with little investment and counting on the person's phone number, can illegally track both the executive's calls (the famous "phone sheet") and his location, which could reveal his address, places he frequents and many of his routines. This type of information makes it easier for them to plan an attack or kidnapping and cuts down on the time they need to physically follow their target, which in turn complicates the protectors' counter-surveillance work. For this reason, the executive's phone number is considered critical information within the protection system. Unfortunately, this type of information is not easy to protect. The executive shares his phone number with many people: assistants, various employees, suppliers and many others who, eventually, intentionally or unintentionally, could share this information with criminals. On the other hand, the popular and multitudinous chats on the WhatsApp application expose the protégé's number to a large number of people who could misuse it.
On the other hand, criminal groups, unfortunately, have many other sources to get hold of the critical information of the protected. In this sense, the permanent advice of a computer security expert is essential in modern executive security. It is essential to have a "computer escort", as it is sometimes called, in each protection group, to carry out the corresponding analysis of everything related to the critical information of the protected party and its environment, since, from this analysis, the best solutions to minimize risks can be chosen and applied. A set of measures is required for the protection of information, both technical and human, which, of course, will depend on the study of each case. This is explained in detail in the book Executive Protection in the 21st Century: The New Doctrine.
It is important to be aware of the threats present in modern society and to stop serving critical information to criminals for free and on a silver platter; on the contrary, our aim is to make the task of attacking the executive increasingly difficult: to close all doors, from the computerized to the physical. It is also critical to keep in mind that counterintelligence measures in executive protection often prevent an attack far more effectively than guns and patrols.
A simple strategy, by way of recommendation, is the use of the messaging application Telegram, which, with the appropriate privacy settings, allows you to send messages, make voice or video calls and participate in group chats, but without the need to expose your phone number, as is the case with WhatsApp. In Telegram, only the user name is visible. In this way, the executive, instead of giving his number, would provide only his username in Telegram to maintain the communication he requires. This measure is facilitated by the popularity that Telegram has recently acquired, due to the serious privacy and security problems presented by WhatsApp. In this way, we could easily and without much investment reduce some of the risks. Of course, we do not pretend to say that Telegram is absolutely secure or impenetrable, we simply suggest a simple measure that would make the protégé's phone number much less accessible, since criminals would need a greater investment of resources and effort to obtain it, and this, indeed, reduces the risks.
We reiterate that this, like any other counterintelligence measure, must be observed and integrated within a broader system and previously reviewed by a specialist after an exhaustive analysis of each case.
Knowing and applying these measures will help save the lives of both executives and their protectors.