Stay up to date with the latest OSINT news from around the world

This week in open-source intelligence (OSINT) news, India Today examines how adversaries can use OSINT to their advantage in competition with the U.S. and its allies. A former CIA officer suggests separating OSINT from traditional intelligence gathering could strengthen both. And the New York Times shares a behind-the-scenes look at their verification and geolocation investigations.

This is the OSINT news of the week:

Adversaries rely on OSINT too

Oftentimes, we focus on the potential for open-source intelligence (OSINT) to achieve the goals of the U.S. intelligence community (IC) and assist our allies. But the potential risks associated with OSINT could just as easily benefit adversaries. While open-source information has become an increasingly valuable source for government agencies and other organizations, it is also vulnerable to exploitation by foreign governments and non-state actors such as terrorists and criminal groups.

Adversaries can use OSINT to gather information on potential targets, plan attacks or other criminal activities, and even engage in disinformation campaigns to sow chaos and confusion. It also highlights the need for better safeguards and protocols to protect sensitive information and prevent it from being publicly disclosed and falling into the wrong hands. Despite these risks, however, OSINT remains a powerful tool for governments and organizations seeking to stay informed and make better decisions based on accurate and timely information.

“Concerns are also raised of how artificial intelligence would be implemented to misguide discussions and twist actual facts during a dispute, as has been the case with recent AI-generated satellite imagery of Moldova, which was exploited by Russia in paving way for disinformation and in turn keeping the analysts busy geolocating the same.”

— Dipti Yadav, India Today

Separating intelligence disciplines to strengthen them

The value of OSINT is impenetrable, but should be separated from the world of classified information, The Cipher Brief suggests. Classified information remains vital to national security and intelligence operations; it can also be limiting in certain ways, because of its compartmentalized  nature and inaccessibility to analysts outside of specific agencies or departments.

By separating OSINT from classified information, analysts can gain a broader perspective on a given situation or issue. OSINT can be a valuable tool for identifying potential threats and monitoring trends in real-time, providing valuable insights for decision-makers. Both open-source collection and clandestine intelligence gathering are essential for achieving a comprehensive understanding of complex issues and making informed decisions. By recognizing the value of OSINT and investing in its collection and analysis, organizations and governments can gain a more complete picture of the world around them and make better decisions based on accurate and timely information.

“By recognizing the value of OSINT and investing in its collection and analysis, organizations and governments can gain a more complete picture of the world around them and make better decisions based on accurate and timely information.”

— Gregory Sims, The Cipher Brief

Details of digital investigations at NYT

The New York Times is giving insight into visual Investigations and compiling their digital forensics journalism. The "new form of explanatory and accountability journalism that combines traditional reporting with more advanced digital forensics” can be found conveniently on the Spotlight reporting page. Articles detail the work of digital investigations teams to verify photos and dates of homes burned in Ukraine.

Behind-the-scenes coverage details their analysis of satellite imagery and geolocation techniques. This coverage is worth browsing for any OSINT researcher seeking better understanding of verification (or debunking) and looking for tradecraft resources from one of the most established publications in the world. The series also sheds light on the practice of journalism in a democratic society and the essential role of pumping the brakes on viral videos for examination and verification.

“Our verification process is divided into two general steps: First, we determine whether a video is really new. Second, we dissect every frame to draw conclusions about location, date and time, the actors involved and what exactly happened.”

— Christoph Koettl, The New York Times

Every other week, we collect OSINT news from around the world. We continue to keep a close watch on Russia's war in Ukraine, especially on Twitter. We’re also gathering information on cyberthreats, federal intelligence strategies and much more. Find us on Twitter and share the OSINT news you’re keeping up with.

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