How to Build the Best Data Intelligence Solution with OSINT

Intel and reconnaissance are one of the first steps that are usually taken in any cybersecurity research effort. Furthermore, many public resources can be used to gather information about any organization or individual across the internet. They are sometimes mixed with data intelligence utilities and security tools. This is why open source intelligence (OSINT) plays a huge role in data collection as it helps researchers understand the incident response in today’s cyber world.

OSINT involves the combination of several threat intelligence operations as it provides useful information about a particular risk or threat. In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about how OSINT can be used in national security, business intelligence functions, etc.

What Is OSINT and How Is it Used?

OSINT involves the combination of several threat intelligence operations as it provides useful information about a particular risk or threat. In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about how OSINT can be used in national security, business intelligence functions, etc.

Open source intelligence is the process of collecting information from published or publicly available sources. Furthermore, OSINT operations use advanced techniques for searching through a wide range of visible data to get the data needed to achieve your goals and discover information that most people don’t know.

Types of OSINT

OSINT involves accessing public sources of information as it can be found either online or offline. Some of the types of OSINT are:

  • Online websites such as forums, social networking sites, blogs, video-sharing sites such as wikis, YouTube, geolocation data, dark web resources, people search engines, metadata, digital files, and several things found online.
  • Specialized journals, dissertations, company profiles, academic publications, employee profiles, annual reports, resumes, and so on.
  • Traditional mass media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and books.
  • Geospatial information like maps and commercial imagery products.
  • Photos and videos which includes metadata.

Advantages of Using OSINT

There are several benefits of open source data gathering, such as:

  • The process of OSINT requires a minimal level of financial investments.
  • Because OSINT relies on public resources, users can share and update their information regularly.
  • OSINT is an invaluable tool when it comes to national security.
  • The information gathered from OSINT is not classified as it is divulged freely, and it is legal to obtain the information.
  • Business owners and decision-makers can gather information with OSINT data, which can help build long-term strategies for several business goals.

Disadvantages of OSINT

  • After filtering out usable data, you will still need to validate that the information is reliable. This is because organizations and individuals can deliberately post false information that can mislead potential attackers.
  • There is a need for a considerable amount of analysis work before the information gathered can be used.
  • Unless you can put data gathered in a meaningful way, gathering information will be useless. However, filtering out junk data from valuable information can be quite challenging with OSINT because of the volume of data you will find.

Organizations and Institutes That Rely on OSINT Information

In this section, we will briefly list and mention how OSINT can be beneficial for different actors.


Government bodies like the military are regarded as the major consumer of open source data. Governments can use OSINT sources for several reasons like counter-terrorism, national security, supplying policymakers with the information needed to influence their internal and external policy, exploiting foreign media, understanding domestic and foreign public views on several subjects, and so on.

International Organizations

International organizations can use OSINT sources for supporting peacekeeping operations across the globe. Furthermore, humanitarian organizations also use OSINT sources to help them in their relief efforts during times of crisis. They can use OSINT data sources for protecting their supply chain from terrorist groups by analyzing internet messaging applications and social media sites to predict future terrorist action.

Law Enforcement Agencies

Most law agencies can use OSINT sources to protect citizens from identity theft, abuse, sexual violence, and several crimes. This is usually done by monitoring social media channels to gather interesting keywords to prevent crimes before they occur.

Business Corporations

Business corporations can use OSINT sources for investigating new markets, plan marketing activities, monitor competitors’ activities, and predict anything that can affect their business operations and future growth. Furthermore, business corporations can use OSINT intelligence to fight against data leakage, create their own threat intelligence strategies, and so on.

Some of the other people who can use OSINT sources are privacy-conscious folks, penetration testers and black hat hackers, and terrorist organizations.

How Does OSINT Relate to Cybersecurity?

The OSINT framework cannot be regarded as a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to cybersecurity. This is because the techniques you will need to use can vary and the tools based on the purpose of your research, your target, and what you are trying to find. Once you determine your target and the steps that you want to use for your research, you can then find the appropriate tool and approach.

Advance Your OSINT Knowledge with CodeRed

If you’re interested in learning more about OSINT, CodeRed offers two courses on OSINT, which you can take up depending on your skill level.

Advanced OSINT (Coming Soon on CodeRed)


What are the OSINT tools?
OSINT tools are normally used in the reconnaissance phase for gathering information about a target. Furthermore, the tool used AI algorithms for finding sensitive data around the web. Some of the top OSINT tools are Maltego, the Harvester, Shodan, Metagoofil, Recon-ng, Searchcode, etc.
What is the OSINT framework?
The OSINT framework is a collection of OSINT tools used for collecting data and intel from publicly available sources. Security incident response experts normally use the OSINT framework for digital footprinting.


  1. https://securitytrails.com/blog/OSINT-framework
  2. https://www.csoonline.com/article/3445357/what-is-OSINT-top-open-source-intelligence-tools.html


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