Week in OSINT #2024-23

Your weekly dose of OSINT news brings you some more UDM options, Sofia and Shadows, and we'll look at some creepypasta!

This week I looked at some more Google parameters, and the rest is filled with the topic of geolocation. So if you love playing the Quiztime challenges, and want to get better at it, then this episode of Week in #OSINT is for you! Here is this week's overview:

  • Google UDM
  • Sofia's Stage Talk
  • Backrooms
  • ShadowFinder
  • Finding Sofia

Tip: Google UDM

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the discovery of the udm=14 parameter value within the Google searches, and how it can be used to strip the AI generated content, and Google adds. Some time after, Irina Shamaeva [ ] took it upon her to play around with other possible values, and it seems there are more options available for this parameter.

And looking at the discovery that the URL parameter udm=7 is for videos, and is actually redirecting to tbm=vid, I had a look at that new parameter myself. After I did some testing, I found an old thread over at Stackexchange, listing a lot of options. of which the following ones are still working today:

Parameter Result
tbm=bks Books
tbm=isch Google images (redirect to udm=2)
tbm=nws Google news
tbm=pts Google Patents
tbm=shop Shopping
tbm=vid Videos
tbm=fin Financial
tbm=map Downloads Google Maps JSON

These parameters can be used to search Google directly, for instance: https://www.google.com/search?tbm=fin&q=facebook This link will direct you to the current price of Meta Platforms Inc over at Nasdaq, powered by Google Finance.

Of course the question is: What else is there to discover? What other parameters are out there? And are there any that can help create more targeted searches, and therefore maybe create better search results? I know these options have been around for quite some time, but it is always great to explore.

Link: https://booleanstrings.com/2024/06/05/...

Media: Sofia's Stage Talk

This week, Bellingcat [ ] is featured twice, but Sofia Santos [ ] also makes two appearances in this week's Week in #OSINT! This time with an interview over at Bellingcat's Stage talk. She talks about how she got into OSINT, how she found a job at CIR [] and of course about the importance of mental health. A great interview with Sofia, who is mostly known for her challenges, but also does an awesome job combatting crimes against humanity.

Sofia's interview over at Soundcloud

Link: https://soundcloud.com/bellingcat/...

Media: Backrooms

On the internet people are known to leave images or messages, that start to lead their own life, of which some turn into a creepypasta. Once in a while something is posted that has an impact, and have people stunned for years on end, not knowing what to do with it. It becomes a meme within its own right, until someone steps up and solves the riddle. This is such a story, the story of the so called backrooms. And while the original image was found in 2019 already, by Twitter user rkfg_me, it stayed unnoticed until Farrell McGuire [] posted a video on YouTube about it. An interesting search, that solves on of the many mysteries that exist on the internet. Thank you, Ben Heubl [ ] for the tip!

The background story, and resolution, of the original 'backroom'

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1EKIIM3ShI

Tool: ShadowFinder

Galen Reich [ ] and Gabòr Friesen [ ] created a tool over at the Bellingcat GitHub, that can help find a possible location, by using date and time information, together with a measured shadow. Rummaging through my personal photos, I found one and made an educated estimate of the length of the shadow, to give it a test drive myself too. After filling in all the details in the Google Colab project, like the exact date and time, and the object height and shadow length, it will give you all locations where the information provided could exist. This tool has a very specific 'niche', but there are absolutely circumstances where it can come in very handy. And to show how the tool works, they chatted with Georainbolt [ ], to hear what he thinks.

Georainbolt talking with the developers of the tool

Link: https://github.com/bellingcat/ShadowFinder

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQIjDPFgdJA

Media: Finding Sofia

And what a treat I have for you this week! Because both Georainbolt [ ] and Sofia Santos [ ] are featured again! And this time Trevor is solving exercise number 19, that only consists of text! Great to see his thought process, and how he takes notes, while going over the different clues. If you want to have a crack at it yourself, then I would suggest you do that. I can absolutely be solved, even after being online for about a year.

Solving Sofia's exercise #19

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg3Ztsw5FS4

FUNINT: This Week's Meme

Have a good week and have a good search!

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