Open Source Intelligence Tools

In this week’s episode I’m going to cover OSINT or Open Source Intelligence.  I’ll share with you some tools and apps you can use to scrub the internet for data, and how to use these common tools to your advantage while you’re at the office or mobile.

Now I’m no expert in data mining.  I’ve been learning as I go so I’m not going to be talking about hacks and some super serious tools and super secret squirrels with black hats.  But I think the information that I’ll provide you will be very useful for the security practitioner to protect people, data, and property.

What is OSINT? Open Source Intelligence involves, finding, selecting, and acquiring information from publicly available sources and analyzing it to produce actionable intelligence.

Open Source Intelligence Tools

The internet has become the place get answers to your problems.  Gone are the days of thumbing through the yellow pages. When someone needs a plumber, find a bank, a gas station to fix the car, whatever the issue we look to the internet for our answers. With the proliferation of social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, more and more people are posting and sharing information about themselves, their families, their pets, jobs, vacations, etc publicly – for all the world to see.  The old Monday morning water cooler,  gossip, gripes, and groans has transitioned to social media networks.  If you are on social media it isn’t private – you might think so, but you are still sharing information with your friends – and your friends can share your information with the world.

The advantage of this information for the security practitioner is that the bad guys use social media networks too. From Al qaida to the Occupy protesters – all are using some form of social media to organize and communicate.

Open Source Intelligence Tools Mentioned:

Social search

Complex search examples for searching the big 3 (Google, Bing and Yahoo):

LinkedIn search

  • Search LinkedIn profiles  – inurl:pub ( “Fidelity Investments”)
  • Search LinkedIn updates – inurl:updates (bofa | “Bank of America”)
  • Search LinkedIn companies – inurl:companies ( “Novartis”)

Facebook Search

  • Search Facebook groups – inurl:groups (“militia”)
  • Search Facebook pages – inurl:pages (“bank of america sucks”)
  • Search Profiles – allinurl:people “Jane Doe”

Replace what’s in the parentheses and quotes with your specific keywords and phrases and replace site with your websites.

What are some of your favorite open source tools that you use?  Post in the comment below.

Comments on Open Source Intelligence Tools

  1. Chrissy says:

    Really enjoyed listening to this, a few sites I didnt know about, thanks for your time. Have a look into FOCA and Maltego both god bits of kit once you get your head round them, but your spot on with everything here, I really ought to stream line my searches into rss feeds, saving minutes per day saves hours per week!
    All the best 🙂

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