I spent some extra time last week collecting all kinds of links and tips, and I had lots of fun creating this edition. There were so many awesome tweets, articles and tips shared last week, and so many topics to cover! I enjoy writing such episodes the most, since it usually has something for everyone.
Steven 'nixintel' Harris shared the story that was sent out by Marsattaqueblog, about how during an exercise a French frigate was sunk while they were literally 'off the radar'. From November 21 to December 3, 2021, a total of 23 ships, one submarine and 65 aircraft embarked on a maritime exercise. Despite any radio contact, since all radio and satellite communication was jammed (source), the red team sunk one of the blue frigates, simply because of a location found via Snapchat. The blue frigate was close enough to the shore, that it was within reach of a 4G mast, and was able to connect to Snapchat. After the discovery of the active account, a simulated strike with 14 missiles was ordered, since a precision hit wasn't possible. Another example of how bad OpSec can have a devastating effect.
Benjamin Strick has been busy making some more light-hearted content, according to his own words. And I can say it's a great thing, especially with all the conflicts in the world that are dominating the daily news. And I encourage you to do the same. You can for instance join him in this video where he will be geolocating large pieces of art from all over the world. Another awesome video from Ben, and despite the fact some locations were very easy to find, it does give insight into his thought process. Pay attention and take note how Ben uses all the information available to solve each and every question.
Twitter user OSINT_Tactical created a bookmarklet that enables you quickly search for a username within a range of social media. I'm not really a fan of this, since it actually opens up a bunch of tabs with results and this might cause some issues. Firefox and Brave only opens a single tab by default, and within Chrome you can't seem to run it from a blank page, and you need to explicitly give the okay to open multiple tabs in your browser before it works. I did decide to share it here, because it's another easy and fast tip to quickly find possible leads.
Fergus Ryan and his colleagues had a look at some Chinese propaganda, that feature two girls from Uyghur and that shop up in several videos. This Twitter thread goes over the information they found, connecting these videos to the so called 'Information Office'. This is an interesting thread, showing how information campaigns are being used to spread a certain narrative, and how, sometimes, they can easily be pulled apart. Thanks for the tip Lou.
Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/fryan/status/1582960014053949440
Henk van Ess sent me a tip about a new way of 'geotargeting' Google searches. For several years I've been using iSearchFrom, and this handy site is able to target a specific location when searching. When searching for news, Google sometimes shows news items from your local area, and with the ability to target a very specific area, this might come in very handy. This tip was immediately followed up by a tip from someone called 'Einat FB', that pointed out there is another site, called 'U Search From', which is a modified and better tool than I've been using. Thanks for these tips!
Over the last few days I have received multiple emails about a new YouTube feature, called YouTube Handles. Creators are able to claim a handle, that will enable someone to generate a link that looks like this:
Currently, this page will send back an HTTP code '303', that redirects the browser to a different URL. In this particular instance, it will redirect you to the URL:
https://www.youtube.com/user/redbull. According to the blog about it on YouTube, everyone that already had a custom channel URL set up, will have that same name reserved as a handle, and they stopped the option of creating new custom channel URL's for now. It is unsure what the future holds, but if a lot of YouTube users will claim their own handle, following this news, it might be even easier to find them!
If you are new to geolocation, and you are still struggling with finding clues, then this might be an awesome cheat sheet for you! The SEINT created a large mindmap with lots of things that might be visible in a photo, that can help you on your way. This is a work in progress, and will be updated when he finds more items, but it's already impressive! Don't forget to use this as a cheat sheet only, and make sure to always come up with your own ideas too, when analysing an image or video. You can find a PNG and PDF version of this mindmap over at the SEINT's GitHub.
An awesome geeky joke, created by @38mo1, that comes up around Halloween, and involves some classic 'logic gates'. Some of these will be known by the OSINT community, since the basis of it all is Boolean algebra, the same thing we use when creating our innovative search queries. But for the electrical engineers, this is known territory! Thank you for sharing this, OSINT Amy!
Have a good week and have a good search!