In our daily lives, we search for a lot of information on the internet. If we don’t find the expected results, we usually quit searching! But have you ever imagined what lies in that hundreds of page results? “Information”!
Tools play a significant role in searching for information but, without knowing the importance and usage of tools, it will not be helpful for the users. In this article, we will be discussing various Open-Source Intelligence Tools (OSINT) that are available in the market. Before digging into the tools, let’s have a fair idea of what Open Source Intelligence is and what can be achieved out of it.
What is Open Source Intelligence?
Open Source Intelligence refers to a collection of data or information from public sources. According to Wikipedia, Open-source intelligence is a multi-methods methodology for collecting, analyzing, and making decisions about data accessible in publicly available sources to be used in an intelligence context. In the intelligence community, the term “open” refers to overt, publicly available sources. Generally, OSINT techniques have been produced from openly available information for the public that is collected, utilized, and distributed in a suitable time to a suitable audience for attaining a particular demand.
Cybersecurity experts use open-source intelligence tools in the inspection phase of an incident response plan to gather information from hundreds of websites in minutes. OSINT tools use AI features to collect multiple information from public sources.
Also Read: Tips to ensure security at hybrid workspaces
Why do we require OSINT tools?
Consider that we need to find information related to some topics on the web. For this, you first need to search and analyse till you get the exact results. This consumes a lot of time. It is the main reason why we need intelligence tools because the process mentioned above can be done within seconds using these tools.
So, let’s deep dive into some of the best OSINT tools.
- Google Dorks
Google is one of the most commonly used search engines when it comes to finding stuff on the internet. For a single search, the results can be of various hundred pages sorted in order of relevance. The results vary from ads, websites, social media posts, images etc. Google Dorks can help a user to target the search or index the results in a better and more efficient way.
Google uses operators to find information, and here are some operators: –
Intitle – Generally, this operator is used to search the title.
Ext – This operator is used for a specific extension in the file.
Inurl – It simply helps us to find specific string mentioned in the URL.
Filetype – As its name itself states that with this operator, you can simply know that it is used to find the file.
Intext – It helps us to find a particular text on a specific page.
Shodan provides the results that make more sense and related to security professionals. It mainly includes information related to assets that are being connected to the network. The devices may vary from laptops, traffic signals, computers, and various other IoT devices. This open-source tool mainly helps the security analyst in identifying the target and test it for different vulnerabilities, passwords, services, ports, and so on.
One of the simplest tools to use on this list, theHarvester is designed to capture public information that exists outside of an organization’s owned network. It can find incidental things on internal networks as well.
The sources that theHarvester uses include popular search engines like Bing and Google, as well as lesser-known ones such asdogpile, DNSdumpster and the Exalead meta data engine.
Spyse is a cybersecurity search engine for obtaining technical information that is commonly used by hackers in cyber investigation. Spyse provides vast data for exploring the target through different entry points. The user can start with one domain and expand the investigation radius by checking different types of target-related data such as Vulnerabilities, IPs, ASNs, DNS records, on the same IP, Domains and much more.
Moreover, the search engine provides users with unique search opportunities that simplify the process of obtaining the necessary data. Its distinctive characteristic is the possibility to apply 5 different search parameters for a precise and detailed search.
Maltego specializes in uncovering relationships among people, companies, domains and publicly accessible information on the internet. It’s also known for taking enormous amount of discovered information and plotting it all out in easy-to-read charts and graphs. The graphs do a good job of taking raw intelligence and making it actionable, and each graph can have up to 10,000 data points. The Maltego program works by automating the searching of different public data sources, so users can click on one button and execute multiple queries.
Recon-ng is a great tool for target information collection. This is also pre-bundled in Kali. The power of this tool lies in the modular approach. For those who have used Metasploit will know the power of modular tools. Different modules can be used on the target to extract information as per need. Just add the domains in the workspace and use the modules.
Tineye is used to perform an image related search on the web. It has various products such as tineye alert system and color search API. You can search if an image has been available online and where that image has appeared. Tineye uses neural networks, machine learning, and pattern recognition to get the results. It uses image matching, watermark identification, signature matching and various other parameters to match the image rather than keyword matching. The website offers API extensions and browser extensions as well. You can simply visit the image and right click on it to select search on tineye.
- Recorded Future
Recorded Future is an AI-based solution to predict trends and big data analysis. It uses various AI algorithms (both structured and unstructured data) to predict the future. The users can get past trends and future trends basis OSINT data.
OSINT would be nothing if we didn’t have the right tools to fetch all this intelligence data. These tools are used by organizations to boost cybersecurity investigations, as well as to prevent attacks into the organizations network by hiding crucial information from the company, people, as well as domain names, servers, IP addresses and much more.
Though the list can go on, the fact is that it depends on the selection of the right tool and proper techniques depending upon the needs or requirements of the organization.