Open Source Intelligence, or OSINT, is a method of collecting data from publicly available sources to be used for intelligence purposes. This is not simply limited to the information that can be found by searching on Google, however, the “surface-web” is an extremely important resource in OSINT.
The use of the internet and social media is growing all the time but it is currently estimated that there are over 4 billion internet users, 126 million daily Twitter users, over a billion Facebook and Instagram users, and 1.5 billion users of YouTube. There is therefore a vast amount of information available that can help to identify people, their patterns of life and movements, links between people, groups and organisations and much more.
The vastness of the data available also creates challenges and OSINT tools are available to exploit this information although these change regularly. As an example, there are a variety of Facebook tools available but these are regularly changing. One such tool is Facebook Stories which, with a targets user ID, makes it possible to retrieve posts by the target depending on privacy settings.