Introduction to Open Source Intelligence

The internet revolution has turned the world into a small village. Unleashing the Internet to the world to communicate and exchange digital data has transformed the entire world into today's information age. Open source intelligence (OSINT) refers to all publicly available information.

In recent history, open source intelligence was introduced as an intelligence tool by the security agencies of many countries during World War II, however, with the explosive growth of Internet communications and the large amount of digital data generated by the global public, the collection of open source intelligence became necessary. Different organizations, such as government departments, non-governmental organization (NGO) organizations, and commercial companies, are starting to rely heavily on open source intelligence instead of private and confidential information.

Open source intelligence sources are distinguished from other forms of intelligence because the public must legally access them without violating any copyright or privacy laws. This distinction makes the ability to collect open source intelligence sources not limited to security services. For example, businesses can benefit by leveraging these resources to gain intelligence about their competitors.

Types of open source intelligence

Open source intelligence includes all publicly accessible sources of information. Information can be found online or offline:

1. The Internet, which includes the following: forums, blogs, social networking sites, video sharing sites (such as, wikis, Whois records for registered domain names, metadata and digital files, dark web resources, geolocation data, IP addresses , a people search engine, and everything that can be found on the web.

2. Traditional mass media (television, radio, newspapers, books, magazines).

3. Professional journals, academic publications, theses, conference proceedings, company profiles, annual reports, company news, employee profiles and resumes.

4. Photos and videos, including metadata.

5. Geospatial information (maps and commercial imagery products).