Week in OSINT #2024-18

Another episode with some interesting articles, tools, search engines and of course the ever-present Monday Morning Meme!

It has been quite some time that I actually tested a tool in a custom VM, but this week I simply had to give the new Telegram a go. I love this tool a lot, especially since it doesn't need a NodeJS installation, unlike the Telegram nearby Map, that also needs some extra attention running it in, for instance, an AMR based Linux on a newer MacBook. What I also like is that the information that is retrieved, can be processed later on due to the JSON files that are saved. So I had a lovely time, testing out this tool, in between all the other content I had a look at. Curious about it all? Then scroll down and check out this week's topics:

  • Non-Free Email
  • Telegram Web
  • Collection of CSEs
  • OSINT Methodology
  • Close-Circuit Telegram Vision
  • Ritu Gill on PI-Perspectives
  • 10 Steps to OSINT Mastery

Tutorial: Non-Free Email

Some platforms make it more difficult to register when using a free email account, but with the latest blogpost of Matt Edmondson [ ] at hand, that too won't be a problem. He explains how easy it is to register a new domain, and what steps need to be taken to get your personal email up and running. And with some domain registrars offering free domain privacy protection, by acting as a 'proxy' to hide your real identity, you are ready to take on the world with some new research accounts!

And yes, this domain actually does exist!
And yes, this domain actually does exist!

Link: https://www.digitalforensicstips.com/...

Tip: Telegram Web

Earlier, the Telegram web app started showing a 'nag screen' when trying to translate a message in a different language than your default one. Because earlier this year Telegram added a Premium feature, that will give you the option to translate texts automatically.

Nag screen in Telegram web version
Nag screen in Telegram web version

After some testing, I found out that this only happens in the "K version" of the web application. If you see such a nag screen, there are several options to still use translations:

  • Use any of the official desktop applications for Linux, MacOS or Windows
  • Use a mobile app, since single message translations still work there
  • Switch to the "A version" in the web app, by clicking in the hamburger menu in the top left

If you do switch to the "A version", the layout will be slightly different, but all features should be there. If you don't have a translation option, then do check your settings under language, since this option is set separate for each version.

Links: Collection of CSEs

While strolling around the internet, I stumbled upon a huge list of Google CSEs! Looking at the rest of the repositories, these CSEs seem to be scraped from Start.me pages, and collected for the ongoing project "OSINT Buddy", an open source, self hosted platform. But no matter what the reason is, a staggering 871 lines with URLs are listed in this repository, and a quick count gave me well over 600 unique CSE IDs.So if you don't want to host the full OSINT Buddy platform yourself, you can simply scroll through the list, and pick a custom search engine you might need for your research. Be aware, not all of them are still online, so make sure to go over them and create your own personal collection, before you actually need some.

Using a CSE to check webcams of Verona, Italy
Using a CSE to check webcams of Verona, Italy

Link: https://gist.github.com/jerlendds/...

Article: OSINT Methodology

Aaron 'CTI' Roberts [ ] wrote an article on his personal blog, explaining what his basic steps are for doing OSINT research. This is a great guide for people that can us a little bit of help starting up, since he gives great examples on the so called 'pivot points' that are out there for you to use. And I was very happy when Aaron, next to all the different tools he mentioned, he wrote the next line:

While I love SocialNet, I do still find myself doing manual OSINT on social media profiles as I find it more intuitive personally.

Because no matter what tool you use in your research, it will never give you any context when you look at the information that the account shared. A username can be unique, but more than once, a specific username can have different 'owners' on different platforms. So read the article, know about the tools and know what they can help you with, and do a lot of manual work to make sure you connect the right dots.

Link: https://aaroncti.com/...

Tool: Close-Circuit Telegram Vision

Only a few days ago a brand new tool was released, created by Ivan Glinkin [ ]. It is a similar tool as the Telegram Nearby Map, that I mentioned in episode 2022-05, but instead of a NodeJS based solution, this is a Python script that will run once, and save all the collected information in an HTML file that will open. Besides that, it will also create a JSON file for you, with all the details that are available. It will take some time to run, depending on your settings, but a 500m radius and a 30-second waiting time for testing, took about a minute to run. Do be aware though, that some experience with using a Telegram API is recommended! Because it is very easy to be temp-banned on Telegram, for abusing the API.

Triangulating Telegram Users
Triangulating Telegram Users

Link: https://github.com/IvanGlinkin/CCTV

Media: Ritu Gill on PI-Perspectives

Ritu Gill [ ] was a guest over at the PI-Perspectives podcast [ ]. She talks about the OSINT community, sharing her knowledge and learning from others, careers and tools, and of course about her tool Forensic OSINT.

Matt Spaier interviewing Ritu Gill

Link: https://pod.link/1481502619/...

Article: 10 Steps to OSINT Mastery

Talking about sharing knowledge and connecting with the community, over at Authentic8 [ ], Micah Hofmann [ ] shared his wisdom in a blog post. In his 10-steps to OSINT mastery, he gives valuable tips on the vary basics of doing open source research. And even though I've been doing open source research for quite some time now, I still love to read such lists, because they are small reminders of the core steps that you need to be aware of, if you want to excel in this field.

Snippet from Micah's keynote speech at OSINTUp 2024

Link: https://authentic8.com/blog/10-steps-osint-mastery

FUNINT: This Week's Meme

Be honest, we all know someone like this...

Have a good week and have a good search!

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