Open-source intelligence (OSINT) is the collection and analysis of data gathered from open sources (covert and publicly available sources) to produce actionable intelligence. OSINT is primarily used in national security, law enforcement, and business intelligence functions and is of value to analysts who use non-sensitive intelligence in answering classified, unclassified, or proprietary intelligence requirements across the previous intelligence disciplines.
Former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis Mark M. Lowenthal defines OSINT as any and all information that can be derived from overt collection: all types of media, government reports and other documents, scientific research and reports, commercial vendors of information, the Internet, and so on. The main qualifiers to open-source information are that it does not require any type of clandestine collection techniques to obtain it and that it must be obtained through means that entirely meet the copyright and commercial requirements of the vendors where applicable.\"
In July 2004, following the September 11 attacks, the 9/11 Commission recommended the creation of an open-source intelligence agency. In March 2005, the Iraq Intelligence Commission recommended the creation of an open-source directorate at the CIA.
In December 2005, the Director of National Intelligence appointed Eliot A. Jardines as the Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Open Source to serve as the Intelligence Community's senior intelligence officer for open source and to provide strategy, guidance and oversight for the National Open Source Enterprise. Mr. Jardines has established the National Open Source Enterprise and authored intelligence community directive 301. In 2008, Mr. Jardines returned to the private sector and was succeeded by Dan Butler who is ADDNI/OS and previously Mr. Jardines' Senior Advisor for Policy.
The web browser is a powerful OSINT tool that provides access to numerous websites and both open source and proprietary software tools that are either purpose-built for open source information collection or which can be exploited for the purposes of either gathering of open source information or to facilitate analysis and validation to provide intelligence. A cottage industry of both for-profit and not-for-profit investigative and educational groups such as Bellingcat, IntelTechniques SANS and others offer indices, books, podcasts and video training materials on OSINT tools and techniques. Books such as Michael Bazzell's Open Source Intelligence Techniques serve as indices to resources across multiple domains but according the author, due to the rapidly changing information landscape, some tools and techniques change or become obsolete frequently, hence it is imperative for OSINT researchers to study, train and survey the landscape of source material regularly. A guide by Ryan Fedasiuk, an analyst at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology, lists six tools open-source analysts can use to stay safe and utlize operational security (OPSEC) when conducting online investigations. These include VPNs, cached webpages, digital archive services, URL and file scanners, browser sandbox applications, and antivirus software.
A main hindrance to practical OSINT is the volume of information it has to deal with (\"information explosion\"). The amount of data being distributed increases at a rate that it becomes difficult to evaluate sources in intelligence analysis. To a small degree the work has sometimes been done by amateur crowd-sourcing.
The OSINT Foundation is a professional association for OSINT practitioners in the United States Intelligence Community. It is open to U.S. Citizens and seeks to raise the prominence of the open-source intelligence discipline.
the open source intelligence (osint) is an intelligence collection method that relies on publicly available data sources. the technique is not limited to any specific subject and it is not restricted to a specific intelligence discipline. besides, it is not limited to any time period. it is used for situational awareness as well as forensics or investigation purposes. the osint method covers the information processing cycle of collection, processing, and dissemination.the use of open source intelligence (osint) is common in many fields of research. osint techniques are widely applied in the field of intelligence agencies and in law enforcement. in this paper, the authors highlight the basic osint techniques and introduce a classification system for the entities within osint investigations. additionally, the osint use cases in the field of energy research are presented. moreover, the information cycle is explained and correlated with the intelligence cycle. the basic capabilities of modern search engines, techniques for research within social networks and for penetration tests, and the fundamental methods used for information gathering are discussed. furthermore, possible countermeasures to protect ones privacy against the misuse of openly available information as well as the legal environment in germany and the ethical perspective are discussed.this chapter will first introduce the core concepts of open source intelligence. it will then discuss the main types of information available. this includes information from open sources, as well as information derived from a combination of both open and non-open sources. to this end, the chapter will discuss the information flow and its sources. before moving on, a methodological approach will be introduced, including the selection of open sources, information processing and search, as well as the integration of data into a map. finally, the chapter will present a selection of software tools contributing to the process of open source intelligence. 6a6f617c0c
Crucially, open-source information is not just limited to what you can find using the major search engines. Web pages and other resources that can be found using Google certainly constitute massive sources of open-source information, but they are far from the only sources. Even with manipulation of certain keyword strings and using advanced searching techniques (Google dorking), a huge portion of the internet is still not readily accessible, simply because these websites are not indexed.
Of course, the examples given here are just a tiny fraction of what is possible using open-source intelligence tools and techniques. There are lots of free and premium tools that can be used to find and analyze open source information, with common functionality including:
Brandon LaVan is a licensed private investigator & process server and the owner-operator of Southwest Louisiana Process Service in Elton, Louisiana. His company specializes in locating and serving hard-to-serve subjects in hard-to-serve locations. Brandon currently spends most of his time doing surveillance, open-source intelligence, dark web Investigations, and delivering paper. Prior to becoming a PI in 2019, he had 9 years of law enforcement experience in Jefferson Davis Parish and Calcasieu Parish.
The origins of the field can be traced back to World War Two. In 1941, the Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA, assembled a branch of researchers dedicated to gathering information from public sources. They collected materials from around the world and combed through this information for any intelligence on enemy activities.
Today, a wide variety of individuals and organizations apply open source intelligence. Academics and journalists, for instance, use OSINT to conduct research. Law enforcement and private investigators rely on OSINT to solve cases. Militaries exploit OSINT for strategic planning and organizing combat operations.
But while organizations use OSINT to watch threat actors, threat actors also use OSINT to watch organizations. To plan attacks on targets, criminals exploit open source intelligence techniques to find weaknesses in corporate infrastructure. Alternatively, hostile nation-states may use OSINT tools and tactics for similar purposes.
For instance, say your company uses open source intelligence for early alerting on natural disasters near corporate facilities. That will require far more relaxed procedures than investigating credit card fraudsters on the dark web.
Whether laying out foundational principles or charting new terrain, the following resources are mind-expanding exercises in gathering intelligence. These should also be considered required reading for any new analysts looking to break into the field.
In Open Source Intelligence Techniques, author Mike Bazzell shares step-by-step his methods to locate information on targets through open sources. Chapters include uncovering hidden social media comments, finding content on the dark web, discovering website owner information through domain lookups, geolocating IP addresses, and extracting metadata from images. Perhaps more importantly, the book explores foundational concepts related to conducting investigations online, such as digital privacy and operational security. If you only buy one book on OSINT, be sure to get this one.
The term Open Source Intelligence (osint) originally refers to a specific source of intelligence. In general, intelligence sources serve the purpose to produce raw data which can be further processed during the six steps of the intelligence cycle to gain insights (Office of the Director of National Intelligence 2011). Open Source Intelligence is defined as intelligence produced from publicly available sources that is collected, exploited, and disseminated in a timely manner to an appropriate audience for the purpose of addressing a specific intelligence requirement (Office of the Director of National Intelligence 2011).
Bellingcat is a collective of researchers, investigators, and citizen journalists using open source and social media investigations to probe a variety of different subjects with impressive results. These include the identification of Russian intelligence officers as the key suspects in the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 investigation as well as in the Skripal family poisoning. Moreover, they provided analysis of the chemical attack in Douma, Syria and of drone usage by non-state actors in Syria and Iraq. They exposed a fake persona who had been widely cited in Ukrainian and anti-Putin Russian media as a Pentagon official and revealed the illegal shipping of precursors of the nerve agent sarin to Syria by Belgian companies (The Bellingcat Collective 0000). 59ce067264