Not only did OSINT assist with accurate news reporting, it also helped the civilians on the ground make well-informed decisions and escape combat zones.
What was your OSINT highlight of 2022?
From an operations perspective, unquestionably the highlight is the philanthropic work my team has been doing to support counter-human trafficking efforts around the world. The direct involvement in cases reminds us of the importance of OSINT for good. From a technology/techniques/environment perspective, the continued development & release of free tools & knowledge to the OSINT community as platforms, sources etc change, which reinforces the need to stay agile given the constantly evolving nature of the OSINT environment.
What emerging (good or bad) trends did you notice over the past year?
A good trend was seeing a greater awareness across customers & the community of the need to understand the operating environment first, as part of defining collection requirements, before jumping into collection efforts. The reason this is a good trend is that different parts of the world use different information sharing platforms, and this ties back to scoping “where” to look before stove piping collection in areas where your target or interest may not be operating, or the information isn’t available. This relates also to the use of tools vs training, and the balance required to be able to shift between tools for efficiency and fundamental training/skills development when tools can’t get you there or don' t have access so your operational capability overall isn’t impeded or anchored to one place.
Any favorite tool or technique that you tried in 2022?
A favorite technique continues to be pulling hidden information out of online sources by looking “under the hood” at the information being passed back and forth on web requests. There is so much to be gleaned from going a bit deeper on the technical side so you have everything available to put into your analysis process.
How do you see the OSINT landscape changing in 2023?
De-centralized information sources will present challenges, but will also raise the importance of OSINT operators being able to adapt, build their own bespoke collection methods/tools to enhance efficiencies, and stay agile to tackling both centralized information sources/platforms & also de-centralized, because it won’t be a “one or the other”, it will be both and where your collection requirements take you could be a combination of everything.
Promote yourself! Do you have a blog / Twitter account / Company / Tool / Course that you’d like to share with the community?
You can check out our OSINT tradecraft training & software platform, NexusXplore at (www.osintcombine.com)