Intelligence

Offensive OSINT: Exploiting Social Media

A NATO affiliated research group published a report this week showing results of a test they conducted using OSINT.  They wanted to see how much they could influence real world NATO soldiers via social media manipulation. The three main questions the researchers posed were: (1) What can be found out about a military exercise through…

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Updating OSINT Cycles

In the wake of the information explosion and the dramatic changes in open-source intelligence we’ve experienced over the last decades, the traditional intelligence cycle used in OSINT is no longer adequate, some would say.  Here are some of the issues: Information consumers are now also information producers, posting, blogging and tweeting with abandon.  It’s worth…

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The Power of OSINT

Last Saturday, a devastating terrorist attack led to multiple casualties during a hate crime against a Pittsburgh synagogue.  The man Robert Bowers, aged 46, accused of committing the attack had posted an online message on a social platform called Gab in which he announced his intention to attack. His Gab account showed that he had…

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The Red Sea Diving Resort

Tales of crazy covert spy operations make great memoirs.  Ex-Mossad agent Gad Shimron tells such a story about Operation Brothers, a mission that took place in the 1980s to extricate starving Ethiopian Jews from Sudan, a Muslim state.  Hollywood has jumped on the bandwagon; a movie based on the operation and starring Chris Evans will…

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Reality is Stranger than Fiction

Reality Winner who worked for Pluribus International at their offices in Georgia was arrested this week under the Espionage Act for sending a classified document to Intercept, a publication first created in 2014 as a platform to report on documents released by Edward Snowden.  Ms. Winner faces one count of “gathering, transmitting or losing defense…

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The Method to the Madness of Criminal Intent

Late in the summer of 2015, open source news reporting indicated that Chinese hackers may have been to blame for the breach of information at USIS, which is the major U.S. contractor for security background investigations for the U.S. Government. Initial estimates indicate that the cyber security hacking included more than 25,000 private records. Investigators…

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Unconventional Crime Indicators

How can we evaluate whether or not a given area – perhaps a business or leisure travel destination – has a high or low risk for crime? It’s an important thing to know in order to prepare against potential threats.   In the U.S., crime statistics are readily and easily available online. But outside of…

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Mommy Spies

The newest James Bond movie Spectre is due out this week. In the Bond series, female characters most often play the part of a villain or a love interest to 007, (or both). And while Judy Dench played “M” in the previous four Bond movies, there have been few if any ladies amongst the 00…

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Holes in the Gouda?

An intern for the Brussels Federal Police was dismissed two days into his internship. The reason for his dismissal was strange behavior that quickly brought much attention to him. What makes the case interesting is both how polarized the two sides of the story are, how best to ascertain true allegiance and how we can…

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Inciting Information

In the movie This Means War, Reese Witherspoon is having a hard time choosing between CIA agent love interests played by Tom Hardy and Chris Pine. She just doesn’t know whom she prefers. Only when faced with a death defying moment, a flaming truck hurdling towards her, is she forced to choose her man by…

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