Yes, it really went out at 8:00AM this Monday morning! But it's that time of year again when the clocks are changing to wintertime, so it could be that some people are a bit shocked. Well, you just got it an hour earlier than expected! And for this week I have the following topics to cover:
Eva Prokofiev wrote an article for Trace Labs about the use and importance of data breaches in OSINT. A note of warning about this: Having data sets of illegally obtained data available yourself is often illegal already, so do check your local laws to see whether you are able to use it or not. Having said that, this article shows how data breaches can be used to find new leads by connecting matching usernames and passwords.
AccessOSINT found a new online tool by MyHeritage that can help with enhancing blurry and out of focus photographs. Besides that, the online tool also offers to colour older black and white images. The only questions I have are: What does MyHeritage do with all these uploaded photos? And is there any possibility that these kind of tools will be available for offline use some day? If such tools already exist, I'd love to know!
In this paragraph I want to share a new website and blog created by Loránd Bodó. I've met Loránd in person a few years ago and I am stoked to see he created his own space on the internet. In his first blog post on his own platform he talks about social media and some tips on how to search for profiles. He collected loads of links with more information on the matter, and gives some goot tips on the matter. I can't wait for more awesome articles that undoubtedly will follow!
Last week it became clear once more that we shouldn't depend on tools for everything we do. Nico tweeted that the open source project
youtube-dl was issued a DMCA takedown notice by the RIAA. The tool made it possible for people, like journalists and researchers, to easily download videos from YouTube. Of course the tool was used for illegitimate purposes too, but it's a fact that this tool was important for a lot of hard working honest people too. People made use of a little loophole to attach a commit to the RIAA repository to include the source code. Not only is the source code still available online via the Internet Archive, but people also found more inventive ways to distribute the code on the internet, for instance:
Adding the source code to a GIF file
Fun fact: you can add arbitrary data to the start of a .zip file and arbitrary data to the end of a .gif file and they will (mostly) continue to work as before.— Gareth Dwyer (@sixhobbits) October 25, 2020
The source code for youtube-dl is 2MB. So is this random hackerman gif.https://t.co/uqQM2xQycc
Converting source code to PNG files
convert -depth 8 yt_dl1.png rgb:yt_dl1.part— ░ 𝕔𝕒𝕥 /𝕕𝕖𝕧/𝕤𝕡𝕠𝕠𝕜𝕪 ░ (@GalacticFurball) October 23, 2020
convert -depth 8 yt_dl2.png rgb:yt_dl2.part
cat yt_dl1.part yt_dl2.part > yt_dl-2020.9.20.tar.gz pic.twitter.com/7wB3VZomBj
Install YouTube-dl directly
On MacOS you can install it with:
brew install youtube-dl
Using apt on Linux, simply use:
apt install youtube-dl
And in case you use dpkg, it should still be there too:
dpkg -I youtube-dl
And in case you work with Windows and want to use it, there's chocolaty:
choco install youtube-dl
Then there's also an older Powershell version available here: https://github.com/mpb10/PowerShell-Youtube-dl, and the website of youtube-dl still offers downloads from the latest version, and can be found here: https://youtube-dl.org.
For the people that rather want to use a website to download legitimate video material for offline use, there is always something like Keepvid that you can use. And else, there are numerous extensions or add-ons one could have a look at. But since I haven't tested those yet, I won't give any links to that until I have tried and vetted them.
When it comes to investigating photographs, I am somewhat familiar with it since I used to photograph a lot and edit lots of images. But I am not a professional when it comes to spotting fakes, even though I do have some experience and I have basic knowledge about the different online and offline tools that are out there. And that is when I found the thread by OSINTessentials that I really need to share with you.
THEAD: 1/8 When using tools for investigation, it's as important to know what they *can't* do as what they can - or at least understand their workings. I regularly see people, for example, drawing conclusions that aren't necessarily accurate from imaging forensics tools— OSINTessentials (@OSINTessentials) October 19, 2020
The thing is, when you are using the online tools to look at noise levels, error levels or using some form of clone detection, do make sure you have a good understanding of what they tell you. If you are only looking for the bright white lines, you don't have anything. If the error levels are distinct, defined much sharper, have different noise levels than the surrounding areas, and maybe you even find conflicting light sources, then you might be on to something.
Original thread: https://twitter.com/OSINTessentials/status/1318165700905738246
Have a good week and have a good search!