Week in OSINT #2024-21

This week we'll be looking at the way Google used to look, and how to retrieve that, an old chat app, and more interesting topics.

This week's episode of Week in #OSINT almost turned into a special that revolves around 'history'. Whether it is returning to the good old Google, a tool that is already three years old, but was never featured here, and the goodbye of an old chat app, and the history of open source investigations within the BBC. Join me this week, and let's take a stroll down memory lane...

  • Old Google
  • SnapMap Archiver
  • I Seek You
  • Open Source Journalism
  • Layer 8 with Hervé

Tip: Old Google

Over at X, I received a notification from Roland Vergeer [], about the announcement by Google that they will be adding AI powered answers to your search results, whether you want it or not. If you are in the business of finding information, like us, and don't want AI-enriched responses to questions you never asked, then you should read this. Last week Ernie Smith [ ] wrote an article about how to remove this unneeded nonsense. By simply adding the parameter &udm=14 to the URL with your Google search results, you can remove all Ai generated answers, and it even removes adds. One way of solving it, is by creating a custom link within your browser settings, so it fires it up when you use your default search engine.

Changing the default search site settings in Chromium
Changing the default search site settings in Chromium

A different way, is by using a GreaseMonkey script, that changes the behaviour of the interaction with Google all together. A small and simple script that automatically adds this parameter into the URL, is already available. And while you're busy with installing GreaseMonkey scripts, you might also want to add pagination back to Google! Because that is an option I still miss, because I simple hate the perpetual scrolling that I can't seem to turn off in my settings.

No artificial help, and the return of pagination!
No artificial help, and the return of pagination!

UDM14 Script: https://greasyfork.org/...

Google Pagination: https://greasyfork.org/...

Tool: SnapMap Archiver

This tool is over three years old already, with its first commit on GitHub on January 28, 2021 by Miles Greenwark []. It is a small Python tool that enables you to specify one of more locations, range or Snaps, and download a load of Snapchat videos posted on or around that particular location. I hadn't heard about the tool before, until GingerT [ ] notified me about it.

Downloading 200 snaps from downtown London
Downloading 200 snaps from downtown London

Link: https://github.com/king-millez/snapmap-archiver

News: I Seek You

This won't mean a lot to all the 'youngsters' reading my weekly articles, but on June 26, 2024 the good old messenger ICQ will stop working forever. When it was launched by Mirabilis back in November 1996, it pretty much became an instant hit, since it was the first centralized chat app that enabled one-on-one chats with people from all over the world. Several years after the launch, in 2001, it had over 100 million users, but after the acquisition of Mail.ru in 2010 the decline started. One of the reasons is probably the ever growing use of Telegram in Russian speaking territory, the popularity of WhatsApp, Messenger and other chat apps. During the last decade or so, the popularity went down even more, and from 42 million daily users in 2010, only 11 million monthly users were seen back in 2022. It was one of the first chat apps I used, besides MSN Messenger, and I still have some great memories of them. Thank you for some great times, ICQ. You will be missed...

Who doesn't know this sound?

Media: Open Source Journalism

Aware Online [ ] shared a link to a BBC video in his Dutch newsletter last week. Over at BBC World Service Presents, Daniel Adamson [ ] talked about the history of open source investigations. From the rise of smart phones, and the start of Bellingcat, to how the BBC started to focus on open source journalism. For me, BBC Africa Eye will always have a special place in my heart, since it was an important part of my personal carrier, and I encourage anyone to view the video that showcase some amazing investigations.

This video contains graphic images that may be disturbing to some viewers.

The evolution of journalism by BBC World

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxwgFFel_xw

Layer 8 with Hervé

Layer 8 Podcast [ ] published another podcast, and this time my old friend Hpiedcoq [ ] is a guest. He is one of the founders of the French organisation OpenFacto [ ], where they train journalists and citizens in the art of open source investigations. He talks about his past, the trainings he gives, operational security and more.

Hervé at the Layer 8 podcast

Link: https://pod.link/1495404846/...

FUNINT: This Week's Meme

Have a good week and have a good search!

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