Resources, tradecraft tips and just plain inspiration—you should be following some of OSINT’s best practitioners
Even the most experienced researchers can get stuck in an investigation. When you’re looking for inspiration or just trying to stay up to date on tradecraft tips and tools, following fellow investigators could be the key. Whether you want free tutorial videos, lists upon lists of collection sources or just want to hear the pros talk shop, here are eight accounts you may not be following yet but should add to your list.
1. @BenDoBrown - Benjamin Strick
As the director of investigations at Centre for Information Resilience, Benjamin Strict understands the power of open-source research. The group’s recently released Eyes on Russia tool offers a searchable map of verified developments in the Russia-Ukraine war as a free resource for researchers. Before joining the Centre, he was a contributor at Bellingcat and open-source investigator for the BBC.
Ben teaches hands-on tradecraft skills through a series of YouTube videos “OSINT at Home.” Topics include basic and advanced geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) skills on Google Earth Pro and using mountains to geolocate photos. The series was created to help newsrooms, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), human rights organizations, law enforcement and intelligence analysts learn OSINT skills, according to its description.
If you’re looking for someone sharing important updates on the war in Ukraine, human-rights focused OSINT tips or how-to GEOINT skills, Benjamin Strict is a must-follow.
2. @BrechtCastel - Brecht Castel
Brecht Castel is a Belgian journalist and fact checker dedicated to geolocating and verifying images online. Brecht’s passion for OSINT has led him to create step-by-step visual investigations, which he shares via Twitter thread and on Knack.
11.8M views for a TikTok of "a mosquito 🦟 with a number on its back". 😲— Brecht Castel (@brechtcastel) September 21, 2022
Is Bill Gates involved? (Spoiler: no.) Investigate! 🧵👇1/...#OSINT🔎 #Verification 🎥#HowToOSINT 🧐#BillGates #TikTok #FactCheck #Weird pic.twitter.com/cTPb7xG9Az
Like Strict, Castel offers free YouTube courses on “How to OSINT” to help educate and inspire at-home practitioners. His series focuses on investigating public images and videos with free and accessible tools. The “anyone-can-do-it” approach to OSINT can help both amateur sleuths and professional investigators hamstrung by limited resources.
In 2022, he joined NeedleStack to offer research tips for fact checking information online.
3. @Gralhix - Sofia Santos
With the handle Gralhix, Sofia Santos provides geolocation how-to videos on YouTube and OSINT exercise walkthroughs. As a senior OSINT analyst for the Centre for Information Resilience, she has ample OSINT experience and is passionate about showing what is capable with free tools.
Tutorials include techniques for geolocation using only freely available tools, and how to complete GEOINT challenges. On her website, she also provides articles about debunked disinformation and investigations from the Russia-Ukraine war.
4. @Hatless1der - Griffin Glynn
You may recognize Griffin from his guest spots on some of the OSINT Curious webcasts. Now he still collaborates with Micah Hoffman, the former president of the OSINT Curious Project, as an instructor at MyOSINT.Training. Known as Hatless1der online, Griffin’s Start.me is an invaluable collection of resources for practitioners of OSINT. From publications and collection tools to podcasts and forums, the comprehensive list is for any researcher.
He is a chief investigations officer for the National Child Protection Task Force, which provides law enforcement with rapid investigative support. Griffin is also a cofounder of OSINT Games, the hands-on learning tool.
5. @ArmsControlWonk - Dr. Jeffrey Lewis
If you don’t recognize the name Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, you may recognize some of his tweets. He was the first known person to spot the invasion of Ukraine happening via a traffic jam on Google Maps. Lewis is a professor at Middlebury Institute and director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program. He is also host of the podcast Arms Control Wonk, hosting conversations on arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation. The podcast features a rotating cast of co-hosts discussing arms tracking all over the world.
6. @Technisette - Lisette Abercrombie
Lisette Abercrombie, Technisette online, is another OSINT Curious founding member who shares crucial resources and teaches training videos at MyOsint.Training. She shares important OSINT resources on her start.me homepage, including hundreds of databases, search engines, tools and tutorials organized by relevant type and information.
Her courses offer extensive social media intelligence (SOCMINT) guides with in-depth training for researchers.
7. @Intel_Inquirer - Venessa Ninovic
Known online as Intel_Inquirer, Venessa Ninovic coined the term “DROSINT,” putting a name to the rise in drone media availability and adding to the ever-growing number of -INT terms. Her blog last year outlined the importance of drones and their growing popularity in the OSINT landscape.
Will I ever stop talking about deepfakes? Probs not 😂 Late last year I presented at @SecurityBSides Sydney about deepfake phishing attacks, and the talk is now available online 👇 #deepfakes #phishing https://t.co/Asr0b8GuHy— Intel_inquirer (@intel_inquirer) March 24, 2023
Ninovic is a senior intelligence analyst for the NSW Police Force in Sydney, Australia. Her presentation at the SANS Cyber Defense OSINT Summit covered researcher tips for identifying deep fakes. She has also penned articles on using the fitness app Strava for OSINT.
With articles on information security (InfoSec), OSINT and geolocation, Sector035 continuously provides resources to researchers. The “Week in OSINT” is a consistently published weekly roundup with some of the best news and highlights from the OSINT world. Articles routinely feature brand-new tools that have been developed and tradecraft tips for researchers. As another OSINT Curious alum, Secotr035 has long been compiling resources for a long time or “before it was cool” according to his bio. Check out the tutorial and link directory section of the site for resources, and his newest project at Quiz Time.Anonymous research Cryptocurrency Dark web research Financial crime Fraud and brand misuse Law enforcement OSINT research Social media Trust and safety