In many ways, the first half of 2023 was dominated by hopes and fears revolving around artificial intelligence. Experts were giving their opinions on how the future might look. However, looking at the present, reports show that cyberattacks have increased by 7% when compared to last year. With organizations facing an average of 1248 hacking attempts per week, it only takes one successful attack to put a lot of firms in serious trouble.
The good news is nothing is as bleak as it seems. For this article, we have curated a list of the top 10 OSINT tools for 2023. Our picks can greatly improve investigations and provide value for teams when it comes to staying ahead of malicious actors. Many solutions listed here also offer proactive benefits that integrate well into any organization’s cybersecurity strategy.
So let’s dive in!
Reasons to Use OSINT Tools in 2023
In the past year, the global landscape has experienced significant changes, underscoring the growing importance of OSINT. As our lives become increasingly intertwined with various online platforms, cybercriminals are continually discovering new avenues to exploit our information. Furthermore, the emergence of AI is empowering threat actors to automate their illegal activities. By leveraging OSINT, tackling the following increasingly relevant challenges effectively is possible.
Artificial Intelligence-driven Crime
The increased interest and development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems in recent years show considerable promise for automation across industries. The bad news is that cybercriminals also look forward to the AI revolution. For example, hackers have started using OpenAI’s ChatGPT to generate fraudulent emails, apps, and malware. According to a Network Assured report, there is already a 135% increase in novel phishing attacks driven by ChatGPT.
How can investigators combat AI-driven crime? OSINT offers a way out, mainly by using the same generative automation against cyber criminals. Artificial intelligence makes it possible to boost crucial investigation steps—like scanning and processing tons of information, analyzing images, videos, and geolocations, or detecting data leaks—many times faster and more efficiently. This helps reveal current cybersecurity weaknesses in time and adjust protective strategies to prevent future attacks.
Dark Web Crime
The Dark Web was always known as the place where crime, illegal activities, and extremist recruitments occur uncontrollably. Currently, darknet marketplaces are worth over $140M, selling compromised financial information, firearms, drugs, and more. Furthermore, these illegal goods are paid for through cryptocurrencies, further complicating investigations.
In such a climate, a strike back is needed. Using open-source intelligence solutions, analysts can scan illegal marketplaces and forums for indications of wrongdoing. Furthermore, it is possible to deanonymize threat actors by cross-examining their accounts and posts to figure out who and where they are. Since cryptocurrencies are traceable, investigators can also highlight financial transactions and track money flow to catch malicious actors.
Social Media Crime
The desire to be connected and hear the latest news is very natural. Millions of people turn to social media to feel in the loop about what is happening worldwide. According to Statista, at the beginning of 2023, 4.76B people were presented on social media, which is more than half the global population. However, crime in such channels is also growing. With fraud-related losses on these platforms reaching $931M in 2022, offenders continuously seek new ways to scam users.
With OSINT tools, investigators can detect crime on social media and take action in time. Besides, they can collect in-depth digital footprinting by analyzing posts and shared media while finding connections between people and organizations. Furthermore, using object detection or sentiment analysis features, analysts may gain deeper insights to make informed decisions.
Top 10 OSINT Tools, Products, Solutions, and Software for 2023
The world of OSINT is very diverse. Currently, there are numerous solutions tailored to resolve specific cases and tasks. With that in mind, we've created our selected pick of the top 10 OSINT tools to help you sort out the variety of software and its capabilities and choose the right one.
Our top pick is a full-cycle, standalone OSINT platform—SL Crimewall. This is an all-in-one solution that simplifies the entire intelligence cycle, from data extraction through visualization and analysis to the final report. Offering a sleekly designed, user-friendly interface and a huge array of search methods developed from the ground up, SL Crimewall is an industry-leading solution in terms of capability and operability.
- Comprehensive Data Extraction. Access to more than 1700 search methods spanning 500 open sources, including all major social media platforms, messengers, and the Dark Web.
- Collaborative Mode. A project board feature where members of the team can instantly share and analyze evidence, develop hypotheses, and narrow in on details.
- Data Visualization Options. Graph View for carrying out link analysis, Map View for finding geographical patterns, and Table View for organizing case content in a logical, accessible way.
- ML-Driven Models. Generative AI and NLP models allow users to process huge quantities of data in highly controlled ways quickly. This massively reduces workloads and moves cases forward much faster.
- Script Builder. An internal tool allowing experienced users to construct custom scripts for processing and analyzing data. In turn, less experienced colleagues can use these scripts as presets, allowing them to work with data much more efficiently.
- Monitoring. An automated surveillance feature that tracks the ongoing activities of a company or individual and sends the user notifications when there are changes.
- Reports. Versatile options for summarizing the findings of a case, from quick exports with a couple of clicks to custom-made layouts.
Second up is a sophisticated tool designed for performing graphical link analyses with real-time data mining and information-gathering capabilities. Its node-based graph allows for the representation of complex information, enabling easy identification of patterns and multiple-order connections between data points.
- A user-friendly interface allows analysts to explore and analyze complex data relationships and connections.
- Various OSINT sources can be seamlessly integrated through the Maltego Transform Hub. This enables users to gather information from online platforms, social media, public records, and more.
- Link analysis capabilities help uncover hidden connections and patterns through mapping entities such as individuals, organizations, locations, and assets.
- Enrichment of existing data through integrating external sources, which provides deeper insights into entities and their associations.
- Ability to collaborate with investigators and analysts by sharing graphs, findings, and insights.
- Plenty of customization options that allow users to tailor the tool to their specific needs and enhance productivity.
Next, we have a robust tool with advanced visual analysis capabilities. It excels at converting diverse and intricate information into valuable intelligence. This empowers analysts and intelligence professionals to identify, predict, and mitigate criminal, terrorist, and fraudulent activities more effectively.
- The drag-and-drop graphical interface allows investigators to map and analyze complex relationships and connections between entities through graphs and charts.
- The combination of mixed data sources such as public records, internal databases, and more enables investigators to conduct a comprehensive analysis.
- The timeline functionalities allow users to organize events, activities, and transactions chronologically.
- The geospatial analysis capabilities allow for data analysis based on geographic locations, enabling users to map connections and activities within specific regions.
- The chart and graph-sharing features allow analysts to distribute the insight that is gained during an investigation with other team members.
- The wide selection of customization capabilities allows investigators to tailor the interface and analysis techniques according to their needs, providing an intuitive user experience.
If your concerns are more financial fraud-oriented, we present a comprehensive solution enabling businesses to detect fraud patterns and uncover revenue opportunities. It leverages real-time data from diverse sources such as digital and social media, phone, email, IP, and device lookups. With adaptive machine learning algorithms, SEON ensures accurate risk evaluation, providing businesses with valuable insights for making informed decisions.
- Assign risk scores to transactions, accounts, and users with the help of advanced ML algorithms, which can help identify high-risk activities and potentially fraudulent behavior in real time.
- Enrich customer profiles by leveraging various data sources such as social media, public records, and proprietary databases.
- Track devices in online transactions through fingerprinting techniques such as IP addresses, browser types, and location information.
- Analyze, verify, and validate email addresses used in financial transactions to uncover and mitigate associated risks.
- Leverage behavioral analytics to detect signs of fraud patterns in users.
- Monitor alerts when potentially fraudulent behavior is detected.
An investigative intelligence platform designed to facilitate the discovery of associated data by integrating multiple paradigms such as business intelligence (BI) dashboards, link analysis, content search, and operational monitoring. It offers flexibility and agility in conducting complex investigations, allowing users to gain deeper insights into their data and identify relationships between disparate data sets.
- Allows real-time data integration from various sources, including databases, data lakes, streaming data, and external APIs.
- Employs entity resolution techniques to identify and link related entities within the data, helping investigators uncover valuable insights and patterns.
- Provides advanced search and querying capabilities, including full-text search, faceted search, and filtering.
- Offers graph visualization tools that allow users to visually explore and analyze complex data relationships, enhancing the link analysis capabilities to make understanding complex networks and patterns easier.
- Supports geospatial analysis, allowing users to visualize and analyze data based on location.
- Provides collaboration and case management features that enable teams to work together effectively.
If your needs are based on facial recognition and image search, this one is for you. PimEyes is an AI-powered face search engine that employs advanced facial recognition technology to scan the Internet for images containing specific faces. It performs a reverse image search by analyzing facial features to identify potential matches and retrieve relevant images. With PimEyes, users can conduct efficient and accurate searches to find images of individuals across the web.
- Employs advanced facial recognition algorithms to identify and match faces in images.
- Performs reverse image searches, allowing users to find instances of a particular image or monitor its usage online.
- Provides privacy protection features that allow investigators to control the visibility of their images in the company database.
- Offers monitoring capabilities that notify analysts when new instances of specific images or faces are found online.
- Includes the ability to search for images in the deep web, which consists of websites and content not indexed by traditional search engines.
- Supports batch image processing, allowing users to upload multiple images simultaneously for search and monitoring.
Many devices are connected to the Internet nowadays, and Shodan keeps track of them. A powerful tool utilized by experts to analyze network security by accessing a vast database of publicly available IP addresses. It enables users to identify vulnerabilities in internet-connected devices, providing valuable insights to mitigate risks. By leveraging Shodan's capabilities, users can proactively secure their networks and protect against potential attacks.
- Ability to search for specific devices or services using keywords, such as webcams, routers, servers, or specific software versions.
- Identification of devices or systems that may have known vulnerabilities, providing information on software versions, open ports, and other details that can help security professionals identify potential security risks.
- Conducting port scanning on devices and displaying the open ports and services associated with them.
- Providing geolocation information for devices allows analysts to search for devices in specific locations.
- Offering real-time monitoring capabilities, allowing users to track changes and updates in device status, open ports, or other relevant information.
- Maintaining historical data for devices, granting users access to previous records, and tracking changes over time.
Cryptocurrency is booming, and criminals are taking advantage of its semi-anonymous nature. The leading provider of cryptocurrency investigation and compliance solutions, supporting law enforcement, regulators, and businesses. It builds trust in blockchains through advanced analysis tools, combating illicit activities, and ensuring regulatory compliance. With backing from renowned venture capital firms, Chainalysis is vital in fostering trust and security in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
- Track and analyze cryptocurrency transactions across various blockchain networks, along with detailed information about the flow of funds, addresses involved, and transaction history.
- Assign risk scores to addresses and transactions based on factors such as their association with known illicit activities, involvement in darknet markets, or connections to high-risk entities.
- Generate reports that can be shared with regulatory bodies regarding anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.
- Employ advanced techniques to cluster addresses and identify the ownership of cryptocurrency wallets.
- Explore connections and uncover hidden relationships between addresses, wallets, and entities through a range of tools and visualizations that aid in conducting investigations.
- Assess the risks associated with different cryptocurrencies and gain insights into their liquidity, the prevalence of illicit activities, and regulatory compliance.
Up next is a different solution. The only non-profit organization on our list, Trace Labs, focuses on accelerating the process of family reunification of missing people while training members in the art of open-source intelligence (OSINT). Their mission is to provide valuable support to families and equip volunteers with the necessary skills to contribute effectively to missing-person investigations.
- Collaborate with volunteers in collecting and analyzing publicly available information related to missing person cases. Participants can contribute expertise in various areas, such as social media research, data analysis, or geolocation.
- Leverage digital intelligence in Capture the Flag-style events where participants compete to find OSINT clues and information about missing persons.
- Get training resources and educational materials to help develop OSINT skills.
- Work closely with law enforcement agencies, search and rescue teams, and other non-profit organizations involved in missing persons cases.
- Utilize a premade OSINT-focused virtual machine. Built on Kali Linux (a famous Linux distribution focused on penetration testing), the system has plenty of tools that participants use during the organization’s events.
- Explore a robust collection of open-source intelligence tools capable of conducting social media and Dark Web investigations.
Last but not least, let’s talk about online identities. Pipl is a robust identity management software used by investigators and fraud analysts. It offers access to a wealth of individual information, including email aliases, social media handles, and phone numbers. Law enforcement, cybercrime, and insurance fraud management professionals benefit from Pipl's advanced search capabilities, enabling effective investigations.
- Powerful search capabilities allow users to explore a vast global index of online identity information across various sources, including the internet, deep web, public records, and proprietary databases.
- Access to a wealth of information about individuals, including email aliases, social media handles, phone numbers, education details, and job information.
- Automation through a proprietary algorithm and recursive search functionality helps users validate and corroborate the collected data by cross-referencing it between multiple independent sources.
- A global index encompassing various sources allows investigators to gather information about individuals from different countries and regions.
And that's a wrap on our top 10 OSINT tools for 2023 recommendations. We hope to shed some light on this difficult decision. Don’t forget, whether you're in the public or private sector, the listed solutions are here to spark some fresh ideas for your organization. In the meantime, keep exploring the endless possibilities of open-source intelligence, and good luck in your investigations!