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The Art of Searching Open Information - OSINT

As big as the ocean, the Internet requires proper data extraction, and OSINT is the method we use to do that. Technically speaking, OSINT is a way to search for and analyze online data, but the real question is where and how we got that data. Google and other search engines are helpful, but they can’t do everything. You should also think about other websites like the deep web and the dark web. Are you getting information from every corner of the Internet with Google searches? It depends on how you are searching for particular information; this is why OSINT is called the “art of searching.”

Open source intelligence (OSINT) is the process of identifying, harvesting, processing, analyzing, and reporting data obtained from publicly available sources for intelligence purposes.

Getting started with OSINT

Each pen tester has their own techniques and preferred tools; there is no standard OSINT playbook. Any information that you can find online or through traditional media research can be used for OSINT. Social media has been the most effective tool for collecting information on people in order to defraud them or steal their identities, despite the fact that online media and search engines make OSINT quicker and easier. People willingly put their information out there. If a person is in scope, looking at their social media pages for 15 minutes will usually tell us more about them than one hour of OSINT.

Security teams can use social media as an entry point for social engineering or physical site penetration. But the breadth of social media, including images and video, means it can all too easily provide malicious actors with information about security systems and IT, often without the business realizing. OSINT recon remains well below the radar because there is no system compromise to detect.

Why do people do OSINT?

Here are some of the reasons.

  • To learn about employers or job applicants before hiring.
  • Cunning cybercriminals can use OSINT to their advantage and allow them to craft a precise plan for their cyber attack.
  • To learn about specific cyber threats.
  • To make consumer or corporate purchasing decisions.
  • To identify security gaps.
  • To find missing people or lost family members.
  • To facilitate pentesting, to gather information on your pentesting target.

Is OSINT legal ?

OSINT is completely legal because it only uses information that is available through “open sources.” This means that it doesn’t include information that is kept within your organization’s database, but rather just information available from public sources.

What are OSINT tools?

The various tools that can be used to gather data from the internet are referred to as OSINT tools. The most obvious tool would be a search engine such as Google. However, the problem is that there are several different search engines on the Internet, with each one throwing out different results based on the search query. That’s why security researchers create many OSINT frameworks to make the process easier, and the one in which you are reading this article now is also a OSINT framework that was created by Saumay Srivastava a threat intelligence researcher or an OSINT analyst. The threat tool is currently being used by various law enforcement agencies across India, with Mr. Saumay Srivastava, the threat cops’ developer, aiming to provide the best experience to its users by filtering and selecting the best OSINT resources.
For any hacker, it is a centralized platform where they can easily find the latest OSINT tools for information gathering, It includes Username OSINT, Email OSINT, IP/Domain Tools, Crime investigations ,Sock puppet category etc.

Conclusion
In our contemporary society, open source intelligence (OSINT) is a vital tool. OSINT allows anyone to legally and anonymously gather information about a person or a business. Cyber investigations can now be carried out more accurately and quickly than ever thanks to the abundance of tools available to speed up and simplify this process.

 

An article by Anany Sharma

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