Posted on October 17th, 2018
I have always provided a collection of online search tools and links on my website. This landing area has changed drastically since 2010, and was due for another makeover. I have completely re-worked the entire collection of online search resources, which is available at https://inteltechniques.com/menu.html (you may need to refresh the page). The following explains a bit about the function, changes, and reasons for modification.
Function: This new collection of tools focuses on TARGET DATA. Choose the type of information you have about your investigation (email address, Facebook profile, name, IP address, etc), and click the corresponding category to the left. This will present a drop-down menu with two options. The first will launch the custom automated search tools for that type of data. This should be the first attack. If you are still seeking more information after the searches, the second option in the menu will take you to numerous online resources related to the search type.
Changes: Overall, almost all of the automated tools were updated to reflect new technique changes. I removed over 60 dead links, and added over 35 new resources.
Reasoning: I decided to change to the format of TARGET DATA searching for several reasons. First, most users of the tool do not want to poke around hundreds of links in order to identify which work best for their investigation. This new format allows you to only display resources that apply to the data you have and want to search. Second, I am seeing a ton of OSINT link collections that pop up, many of which seem to be competing for the “Most OSINT Links” award. It is great to see so many people sharing their OSINT resources, but the pages get overwhelming. I saw one today that had over 4,000 links, without any clear guide to where a person should start. Two that I found recently possessed a handful of useful resources that I was not aware of. I believe these serve a GREAT purpose for dedicated OSINT practitioners. OSINT instructors should stay aware of these huge collections and scrutinize them for the next big resource. I will continue to scour these for tools that are not already covered within another service. For most users, they present too many mediocre search options that are already covered within better services. Additionally, most of these collections are hosted on Start.Me sites, which include mandatory tracking scripts from Google, NewRelic, and others. I believe that investigators should avoid tracking behavior when searching sensitive information.
I chose the “Most Bang for Your Buck” scenario. I believe that less is more. Thousands of resources do no good if you do not have the time to devote toward learning all of them. With my new collection, I present only the most beneficial tools and links that seem to assist with my own investigations. I also do this without any tracking or third-party scripts. I hope that more online investigators will embrace the idea of avoiding web-monitoring and tracking behaviors from commercial sites, and will consider self-hosting without trackers.
There was a lot of discussion within the OSINT community about creating a standard for online link collections. I don’t think it ever progressed into anything official, but I offer this new format for consideration. I think OSINT resources should be categorized by what data is being SEARCHED (email, telephone number, domain, etc) versus the alphabetical NAME of each site or the TYPES of services (marketing, political, social media, etc.). I think this tool provides a faster, more direct approach to online investigations. For those that hate the new design, the previous version can be accessed by the”Classic Version” link in the upper right. There will be much more frequent updates with the new set.