Behind Week in OSINT

Week in OSINT turned five years old on May 20, 2023 and to celebrate I wanted to share a bit more insight into the person behind all this OSINT madness.

How did I start out in OSINT?

I have always been extremely curious, and besides knowing my way around the Dewey System as a kid, I also literally grew up with computers. Back in the day they were still called 'home computers', and when I was a teenager I had my own Intel 386, programming, finding security flaws, and even running a small BBS at one point. Back then one still had to put in som serious effort to find all kind of information. And when the internet became available for everyone in the nineties, combined with the lack of OpSec of people, and my vast knowledge of computers and networks, it proved rather easy for me to unmask all kinds of bad people on the internet.

What field within OSINT do I like most?

I am interested in nearly everything that is out there, from geolocation to SOCMINT, and from corporate investigations to geolocating a web server. But since I have a lengthy background in IT, the more technical investigations suit me better. But I try to stay up-to-date on every aspect of OSINT, so I am no stranger to social media investigations for instance. And even though it can be really tricky and difficult, chronolocation will always be a weird hobby.

Where do I find all this news?

I do follow quite some people on Twitter, I am in a few Discord servers, but I also keep my eyes out for related news, podcasts, or blog articles. If I have a bit more time, I also love to search new tools that are shared on GitHub, to see if I see something that might be of value for the community. I also have a personal news aggregator on information security, that once in a while provide me with interesting stories from sites like Recorded Future, Bleeping Computer or similar sites.

How much time goes into writing?

Way too much, to be really honest! I usually spend somewhere between 3 and 6 hours on a single episode., depending on the content. I read all articles first, listen to a podcast episode, and try out new tools. But some tools or scripts, especially when made by people that aren't so experienced, can take some serious effort to get going. There are also episodes where I do some extra research, or add personal tips or insights, so it really depends on the content and complexity. At times, I also find myself being sucked into a new tool or website. I spend hours to see how it works, testing all its options or filters, just to find some interesting bit of information for my personal pleasure or even an interesting screenshot to include.

Anything else I do in my spare time?

My way of relaxing is grabbing my recurve bow, and shoot some arrows, whether it's indoors or up to about 50 or 70 metres. I find that it forces me to completely empty my head, and let all my worries or stress go. But I also enjoy spending some time on Netflix watching Nordic Noir series, or check YouTube for the latest LockPickingLawyer video. In the morning, I usually start my day with one or more Suguru, also known as Tectonic, or a Sudoku. Usually during or right after my morning coffee, and reading the latest news. Throughout the day it can be that you find me solving another puzzle, because I simply love solving them. And whenever I don't need the dining table, it is very well possible that you find a 1000-piece jigsaw there, in the process of being solved.

Do I listen to any podcasts?

I am a true fan of podcasts, mostly dealing with technology, security, facts or true crime. Both Anatomy of Murder and Casefile have really great stories about criminal cases. Darknet Diaries talks about the darker sides of the internet, and the SANS Daily StormCast keeps me up to date on the latest security threats. Of course, I also listen to the Privacy, Security & OSINT show once in a while. For interesting stories, facts or a laugh, there are several podcasts I like, for instance: Cheat!, A problem squared, Something Rhymes with Purple, Gossipmongers and No Such Thing as a Fish. The latest podcast I've listened to, was season three of Brian Brushwood's World's Greatest Con. These are just some of my favourites, because I have bookmarked dozens of podcasts in my app.

Any people I admire?

Yes, to start off, everyone from the OSINT Curious Project are people I really look up to, and they all are doing great work in their respective line of work. And all the people behind the Quiztime Twitter account, who all work in journalism, besides me, and investigate amazing and important stories. And a lot of other people, like Bram who is an awesome teacher at Aware Online. Benjamin Strick, spending his time diving into human right affairs. And also the people behind Lighthouse Reports, that I have had the pleasure of meeting several times. But also the unsung heroes like redteamers or intel analysts, working tirelessly to keep companies secure. There are many people out there that I look up to, learn from, admire, or respect for the great work that they do.

Have a good search, and stay OSINT curious!

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