A Beginners Guide to OSINT

A Beginners Guide to OSINT
A Beginners Guide to OSINT | Day1 of 30DaysOfOSINT

The main aim of writing this blog is to guide newbies in starting their journey in the world of Open Source intelligence. Helping them in understanding what to do and what not do as a beginner.

OSINT stands for Open Source Intelligence, which refers to the collection of data via open source and performing intelligence techniques to find useful and meaningful information from it.

Here Open source refers to the data/information that is publicly available, doesn't matter if its available if its in online or offline mode.

Example of online information sources are:
- Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing
- Social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit
- Sharing and publishing websites like Youtube, Medium, Pinterest, Img
- Deep and Dark Web Websites

Example of offline information sources are:
- Government and Law enforcement Records
- Academic Research and Journals
- Annual Reports, Press Conferences
- Mass Media like TV, Newspaper

The process of collecting data from these publicly available sources is called Data Collection and if present that data in summary format that is called Data Aggregation.

Here Intelligence refers to understanding the gathered data and smartly think of it and then coming to some good conclusion.

This whole process as combined is called Open Source Intelligence.

OSINT is a massive subject which keeps evolving with time and new techniques and tools are always being explored while some old ones becomes useless. So, if you wanted to be a master in OSINT, you have to be active in the OSINT community while being active and aware of new tools and techniques, in short you should have a interest in learning something new everyday.

Categorization in OSINT

As i have mentioned above, OSINT is a massive subject, so we usualally divide it in multiple categories as per the use case and needs, some of the most popular types(categories) are as following -

Acronym Full Form Meaning
OSINT Open-Source Intelligence The act of gathering and analyzing publicly available data for intelligence purposes.
SOCMINT Social Media Intelligence The process of collecting and analyzing information from social media platforms to gain insights into individuals, organizations, or events.
GEOINT Geospatial Intelligence The utilization of geographic information and imagery to gather and analyze intelligence data.
IMINT Imagery Intelligence The collection and analysis of visual information obtained from various sources, such as satellite images, aerial photographs, or reconnaissance missions.
VATINT Vehicle and Transportation Intelligence The collection and analysis of information related to vehicles and transportation systems.
FININT Financial Intelligence The process of gathering and analyzing financial data and transactions to uncover illicit activities such as money laundering, fraud, or terrorist financing.
TECHINT Technical Intelligence The collection and analysis of technical information related to military or industrial capabilities, including technology developments, equipment specifications, and technical vulnerabilities.
ORBINT Orbital Intelligence It refer to the collection and analysis of intelligence data from satellites or other objects in Earth’s orbit.

Disclaimer: ChatGPT has been used in writing the meaning of these above terms.

Is OSINT a good choice for you?
OSINT is a good choice for you if -

  • you love playing with search engines
  • you love reading something new daily
  • you love doing online research
  • you love reading books, blogs, watching youtube videos
  • you love collecting data and analyzing it
  • you love sharing your research and techniques with others
  • you love thinking and guessing about situations related to what if and else

OSINT is not a good choice for you if -

  • you feel bored while reading books, blogs and watching education youtube videos
  • you don’t have a interest in research
  • you love spoon-feeding
  • you don’t have an ability to think and imagine
  • you feel bored while doing repeated tasks again and again
  • you cant maintain consistency

Reality of OSINT world

Think about the questions and then decide is OSINT good for you or you just got inspired about it while watching a youtube video where a person finds a lot of data by just knowing his phone number, email or just a social media username.
If yes, let me clear out, OSINT doesn’t work like the way you see in movies or in youtube videos that you just entered some data in a website, app or software, and it will gather and analyze all the data for you, real world OSINT is totally different from this.

When you perform OSINT In real world, sometimes you will easily get whatever you desire in a few minutes, but while in some other cases, maybe you find nothing even after spending hours.
Also, OSINT is not just about using some fancy tools or software, its an art which you can learn and can master if you have a genuine interest in it, but don't live in this misconception, that by just learning some OSINT tools can make you good in it. Tools are just a way to save time by performing some tasks via automation for saving time. Manual process of collecting and analyzing is always the best. But using a mix of both is always good.
Now, let’s get familiar with some use cases of OSINT in real life.

Use Cases of OSINT in Real World

We can use OSINT almost everywhere, either its finding some online product for yourself or doing some bussinness analysis for any corporate work. The use cases of OSINT are uncountable and can’t be counted. I have just tried to tell you some of the most common ones and interesting ones which i feel that you must know and those are as following:

  • Investing potential Security Threats and Vulnerabilities
  • Monitoring and analyzing public opinions and sentiments
  • Helping government agencies and military organizations in tracking terrorist activities
  • Conducting market research and competitive analysis
  • Monitoring social media website to monitor and analyze your business reputation
  • Identifying potential targets for sales and other business development
  • Verifying information and finding in depth information to be used in journalism
  • Using it for personal benefits like finding a product with best feedback and low price
  • Verifying the authenticity of information and sources
  • Helping law enformancements in Missing Person cases

So, that’s it for today’s blog. In next blog, we will be learning about what to do, what not do and what to expect from OSINT.

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