An infiltration is defined as ‘to enter or gain access to an organisation, surreptitiously and gradually, especially in order to acquire secret information’.
Recently, the term has also been used to incorporate individuals within an organisation who rather than exploring established reporting concerns – ‘whistle-blower’ – provision they reveal information to the media or other organisations, normally highly critical of their own organisation.
Infiltration has been used as a tactic as part of investigative journalism, and latterly by protest organisations, including those against meat production and broader animal rights activists.
For the tasking organisation, infiltration remains a time consuming and costly investment and consequently there is substantial pressure upon the infiltrator to deliver a return on the investment through the provision of damaging information.
Despite being identified as a ‘predictable event’, which itself has direct implications for organisational ‘Duty of Care’ responsibilities, infiltration remains a low probability event with a potentially high impact, resulting in prospective:
Harm to reputation and standing, of organisations, a facility, to individuals and ultimately the wider sector
Damage to public confidence, financial and ethical support
Diminishing of research funding
Detrimental affect upon staff moral and other psychological based trauma
Sanctions or penalties from regulatory authority
However infiltration is by no means inevitable; there are initiatives which can reduce the overall organisational vulnerability.
Each infiltrator has certain needs during the course of infiltration and there are certain occasions where the infiltrator is vulnerable to disclosure. Identifying these occasions and understanding what strategies are most likely to deliver an appreciation of the intent of the infiltrator are central to effective mitigation and infiltration prevention.
Equally where an organisation believes that it is, or has been, the subject of an infiltration, there are proven responses which, where implemented, provide opportunities to regain the initiative and actually flourish following an infiltration event.
Research1 conducted at the University of Oxford has shown that companies that respond quickly and efficiently to business interruption events (‘recoverers’) subsequently perform much better, and in stark contrast to those that are slow or inefficient (‘non-recoverers’).
1 Source: Knight and Pretty, Templeton College University of Oxford
How could this course help you/your institution?
Following the master-class, organisations and individual staff members will be better able to:
understand and contextualise the generic threat from infiltration and specific areas of heightened threat
recognise and identify the phases of infiltration, the associated tactics and options for mitigation
understand the requirements, and consequently the vulnerabilities, of the infiltrator
identify good practice options to respond to an infiltration
realistically assess related institutional vulnerability, and capability to respond to infiltration
implement preparedness measures
address related ‘Duty of Care’ responsibilities and assure an integrated response
Who should attend?
Any individual having responsibility for, or involved in;