OSINT or Open Source intelligence is the method of gaining information about a person or thing without the need for a subpoena or warrants. This can be done with public records or any information available to the public but is mostly done with online resources, including but not limited to social media, forums, people search engines, email searches, dating sites, domain info, image searches, and many more. OSINT analysts are able to cover the vast spaces of the internet known as the deep web with special programs utilized for web searching specific bits of information. Then using specialized methods we can draw conclusions from different sets of data to complete investigations.
OSINT is a highly diverse form of intelligence collection and analysis. Most OSINT collectors need to take precautions while collecting information from the Internet. This can come in the form of using a VPN to anonymize their identity and collect information more discreetly. This is where evaluating sources becomes important to the overall OSINT collection and analysis process. An OSINT analyst needs intelligence evaluation to determine a true process or expose a false process that would affect predicting the future. Finally, the analysts need to find use of the evaluated intelligence so that it can be incorporated into a finished classified, unclassified, or proprietary intelligence product.
Information collection in OSINT is generally a different problem from collection in other intelligence disciplines where obtaining the raw information to be analyzed may be the major difficulty, particularly if it is to be obtained from non-cooperative targets. In OSINT, the chief difficulty is in identifying relevant, reliable sources from the vast amount of publicly available information. However, this is not as great a challenge for those who know how to access local knowledge and how to leverage human experts who can create new tailored knowledge on the fly.
As Stated above, one of the key factors in effective OSINT intelligence is determining the true data from the mass amounts of incorrect, outdated, or intentionally misleading data available. Using multiple sources is a great way to verify data across different platforms.
OSINT investigations can be used to understand the character or nature of different entities as well as the connections that exist between two seemingly solitary subjects. We have used it to track down elusive witnesses to an event from years ago, or to prove involvement in business practices that have no paper trail. The possibilities of Open Source Intelligence are immense, and can be tailored to a wide range of search criteria.
If you have questions about using OSINT to acquire information you need, please send us an email.