The value of open source intelligence to different groups

Open source intelligence is extremely valuable to many different groups.

Government Agencies

The military, in particular, is considered the largest consumer of open source intelligence. Governments need open source intelligence for different strategic directions, such as national security, counter-terrorism, cyber-stalking of terrorists, understanding public perceptions of different events around the world, and providing policy makers with the information they need to influence their internal and external policies.

International Organizations

The United Nations uses open source intelligence to support peacekeeping operations around the world. The International Red Cross humanitarian organization uses open source intelligence to provide relief efforts in times of crisis or disaster. They use open source intelligence to protect relief efforts from terrorist groups by analyzing social media sites and Internet messaging sites to predict future terrorist operations.

Law enforcement agencies

Police use open source intelligence to protect citizens from abuse, violence, identity theft, and other crimes, often by monitoring social media for interesting keywords and images to help prevent crimes before they escalate.

Business Organizations

Businesses use open source intelligence to investigate new markets, monitor competitor activities, plan marketing campaigns and predict anything that could affect their operations and threaten their future growth. Businesses also use open source intelligence intelligence for other non-financial purposes, often to prevent data breaches because security breaches in corporate networks can be discovered before attackers do. Businesses also use open source intelligence to create their threat intelligence by analyzing information sources from inside and outside the organization and then combining this information with other information to complete an effective cyber risk management strategy that helps them protect their financial interests, reputation, and customer base strategy.

Cybersecurity and cybercrime organizations

Open source intelligence is widely used by hackers and penetration testers to gather intelligence about specific targets online. It is also considered an excellent tool to assist in social engineering attacks. The first phase of any penetration testing methodology begins with information reconnaissance.

Terrorist organizations

Terrorists use open source intelligence to plan attacks, gather information about targets before attacking them (e.g. using Google Maps to investigate locations), analyze social media sites to train fighters, obtain military information accidentally disclosed by governments (e.g. how to manufacture bombs) and spread their propaganda.