Week in OSINT #2020–18
This week: Synonames and searching, verification and Flickr, dumps and digital detectives.
Monday morning, and no matter what happens, I'll keep on writing this weekly overview. Mostly because I love it, and it actually forces me to actively find new and interesting things. At times there are tools or tips that I already know, but some weeks most of it is new, even for me. This week it's a bit of both. I am actually intrigued bu the article of OCCRP and am really curious what hidden gems are within the Discord dump! I actually wish I had a few days time to sift through that one…
- Synonames by OCCRP
- New Verification Handbook
- Email to Flickr Account
- RegEx Search in Chrome
- Discord Neo Nazi Dump
Article: Synonames by OCCRP
It can be extremely useful to know how a name could be written in a different language. At OCCRP they started the monumental task of creating phonetic representations of millions of names, to use it in their Aleph tool. So when you search for Alexander, it will retrieve alternative versions like Alexandre, Александр and Oлександр. Are you curious how they did that? Then read the following article by the OCCRP team.
Media: New Verification Handbook
Craig Silverman did it again! The third instalment of the 'Verification Handbook' is out and it's full of interesting articles, tips and tricks. From case studies to tracking actors or events, every aspect of investigative journalism can be found here. I really recommend you to read the previous versions too, since each of them provide good insights into how to handle data and information.
Tutorial: Email to Flickr Account
Aware Online created another lovely tutorial for us. This time it's on how to retrieve the user account on Flickr if you only have an email address. Even though Flickr is overlooked at times as a possible resource, it is just one of those extra sources you need to check. Whether it's for a user, or for imagery in a specific region.
Tip: RegEx Search in Chrome
Last week I needed to look for some specific text and numbers within a website, but there was no way I was able to search for specific patterns. Well, I wasn't the first needing that, since some people created a RegEx search tool! With this extension you can create more complex searches to find that one specific piece of information within a web page you need. I've had a really quick look for a Firefox add-on, but sadly enough I didn't manage to find one that was working correctly.
Tip: Discord Neo Nazi Dump
Some time ago one or more Discord servers have been hacked or scraped, and this time the targets were neo-nazis. About 10 million messages from 145 servers in total, all indexed by DDoSecrets and searchable via their website. So for journalists or intelligence people that are looking at extreme right fascists, this might be a treasure trove!
| Digital Detectives
A new documentary aired last week on the Japanese broadcaster NHK and it’s about open source investigations. They follow the work of people like Christiaan Triebert, Eliot Higgins, Benjamin Strick and Nathan Ruser and others. It shows how they work, what techniques they use and what areas they’re focussing on. An absolute must-see if you want to learn more on how journalism and NGO’s have changed over the last couple of years.
| Truth in a Post-Truth World
And after you’ve watched the documentary 'Digital Detectives’, and you want more, then I’ve got you covered. If you never had the change to watch the Documentary by the Dutch film maker Hans Pool about Bellingcat, then you can watch it here: https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2020/04/bellingcat-truth-post-truth-world-200412140841751.html
| Twitter OSINT Quiz
Aware Online published another OSINT quiz on his site. And this time it is all about Twitter! So do you think you know everything there is to know about how to search within Twitter? Do you think you have the skills to get all the answers correct? Then this is the moment to test your knowledge: https://www.aware-online.com/quizzes/osint-twitter-challenge-en/
Have a good week and have a good search!