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.
I think the way that OSINT has been adapted and used so widely in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The ability to identify things like troop locations and document war crimes through open source intelligence has been really impressive. One of the UK’s top generals recently spoke about the importance of OSINT in modern warfare. He said that the side which masters the techniques fastest will win, it is that important. Far more state agencies and large organisations are starting to realise the importance of OSINT for their work.
Closely linked to the war in Ukraine has been the rise of what I call “BULLSHINT”. People want a scoop, and so they repost or share all kind of unverified or speculative information and call it “OSINT”. It isn’t. Intelligence needs to be assessed, verified, evaluated and analysed before being shared. Information is more accessible than ever but it doesn’t become intelligence until you’ve processed and analysed it. It’s not a speed run or a data dump where you get points for being fastest. Accuracy is more important.
Google Lens is not new, but it has really improved. It’s also much easier to use now that it is integrated into the Chrome browser. It makes a lot of common image workflows much easier.
It seems inevitable there will be an increased emphasis on ““AI”” in OSINT work although it remains to be seen which solid techniques and methods will emerge from the current hype around tools like ChatGPT. AI will also bring its own challenges as deepfakes and disinformation become more developed.
I’m usually to be found on Twitter @nixintel or on my blog at www.nixintel.info. This year sees the launch of our brand new Practical Open Source Intelligence Course at SANS and I’m really looking forward to teaching it (www.sans.org/sec497).