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OSINT, The Power of Open Source Information

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OSINT, The power of Open Source information

As we saw in the previous article Analizar documentos sin leerlos: 10 casos de uso (Analysing documents without reading them: 10 use cases), the concept of automatic document analysis is beginning to gain attraction in all types of companies and institutions. The fact is that the possibility of saving time and human effort in reading texts is key in the search for greater efficiency in our daily lives.

Every minute that passes, millions of pieces of data are recorded and uploaded to the internet; in the age of technological development, it is estimated that by 2022, each person will produce 1.7MB of information per second on the web. And all this information is available, open and ready to be exploited through what we call OSINT .

In this article we will delve into the meaning of this concept and its wide range of tools.

smart cities data
Millions of data recorded every minute

What is OSINT?

Open source data collection has experienced rapid growth in both the public and private sectors. This growth has led to an increase in the number of companies now working with large volumes of information to develop intelligence, making it imperative to generate methods that optimise the extraction and efficient use of data.

OSINT refers to the set of techniques and tools that enable the collection, analysis and decision making of information resources. 

Since their appearance, and more specifically in recent years with the digitisation of information, companies have become increasingly aware of the benefits of this type of technology; from the marketing sector, with the aim of knowing the market and being able to make strategic decisions, to the so-called competitive intelligence in which greater knowledge of competitors is sought.

Other purposes that can be pursued with OSINT methods would include:

  • Predicting future scenarios. Create possible implications for current events.
  • Accelerate the process of research or documentation on a given topic.
  • Assess the level of privacy and security of a company or organisation.
  • Knowing the online reputation of a company, brand or user.
  • Track a company's operations.
  • Conduct analysis prior to the launch of a marketing campaign.
  • Study market trends.
Competitive environment
Competitive intelligence

Research tools

In an OSINT process , there are a wide variety of tools that allow us to select and exploit the information of interest in a source: websites, social networks, newspapers, blogs, etc. Below, we are going to share some of them that can be very useful:

OSINT, The power of Open Source information
  • Searches by location: a large number of photos, videos, comments that are uploaded to the Internet are geo-referenced. This information can be used to search for news or posts in a specific location.
  • Keywords: these refer to search criteria that are used to find certain information. When defining keywords, it is necessary to know the language and slang, as many of them vary according to the region and/or are specific to each subject. Intelligent searches based on keywords allow you to optimise the extraction of content, adjusting it to these previously defined criteria.
  • Data in social networks: Nowadays, most of society makes use of different social networks, as we can see in one of our articles: "Using OSINT to investigate the Digital Footprint". In this sense, through the activity reflected in the profiles of the users of these networks, it is possible to determine aspects related especially to social habits. A good example of this is OSINT on Twitter: Your environment according to your Digital Footprint.
  • Search engines: Google, Bing or Yahoo are not the only search engines on the Internet. There are many lesser-known search engines such as Shodan that can be used to search for data published on the Internet, including geolocated data.

Future Space in Open Source (OSINT)

The use of OSINT methodologies, as well as the search for and analysis of open source information, can go far beyond the classical, more industry, company and customer-focused application of market intelligence to open up a wealth of opportunities in other areas of private enterprise.

Future Space wants to help companies in this task. To do this, we have a set of FS OSINT tools, with functionalities adapted to the needs of each client.

As seen throughout this article, OSINT is another example of how Intelligence and Technology can converge, resulting in improved capabilities and competitiveness that translate into better service and a more refined end product.

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