A Brief Introduction to OSINT#

OSINT is a process of gathering information from publicly available sources to be used in an intelligence context. In the digital age, there is a wealth of data that is readily available online, and OSINT is the process of collecting and analyzing this data. In this blog article, we will provide a brief overview of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). Although we will explore thoroughly each section in future blog posts, upon completion of this blog page your questions will be answered such as:

  • What is open-source information,

  • What is OSINT,

  • Is OSINT legal,

  • What are the applications and performers OSINT,

  • What are common OSINT Types,

  • What is the OSINT framework.

Open-source and OSINT#

Let us begin by defining what is open-source. OSINT stands for “open source.” By “open source,” we mean any publicly available source that the public may freely and lawfully access without violating any copyright, patent, or privacy legislation. For the majority of individuals, it is freely available content accessed through the internet. Now that we know what is open-source in terms of threat intelligence, we can understand OSINT better. Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is described as any intelligence created from open-source information and then gathered, leveraged, and communicated to the right audiences in a timely basis for the aim of fulfilling a specific intelligence demand.

Applications and performers OSINT#

You can use OSINT for many reasons. You can use OSINT as a proactive measure to protect your organization during pen-testing. You can employ OSINT to identify unpatched applications, or for gathering threat intelligence, system footprinting, or any other external investigations that you can benefit from. You can benefit from OSINT in risk management, identification of fraud, cryptocurrency activities, as well as phishing campaigns, and social media analysis. As you can see there are various actors in different environments. OSINT can be employed by a wide range of practitioners with both malicious and good intentions. In the cybersecurity arena ethical hackers, blue and red team members, and white hat researchers can utilize OSINT. OSINT can also be employed for illicit activities. Every actor has different goals in OSINT analysis and we will explore their intentions in another blog post.

What are common OSINT Types?#

OSINT employs a variety of search tools that are not limited to web pages. These applications will aid you in your open-source intelligence study.,

OSINT data may be obtained both online and offline, such as the following areas:

  • Web: Blogs, social platforms, blog pages, content-distribution sites, Whois chronologies of registered domains, digital documents, geolocation data, and so on. To recap and anything can be an OSINT source if you can discover it on the web.

  • Media: TV, papers, textbooks, magazines, bulletins, educational magazines, organizational profiles, corporate reports, and personnel social profiles. Photos and videos with metadata

  • Geographical information such as maps and industrial imaging products.

  • Court documents, registrations, certificates, and property data.

What is the OSINT framework?#

Lastly, let’s have a look at what is an OSINT framework and what are some tools. The OSINT Framework is a collection of tools for acquiring and analyzing OSINT material. Each framework gathers different types of data. There are a wide array of OSINT framework tools that need to be explored in detail however to name a few here are some of them: Babel X, Creepy, OSINT Framework, Maltego, Recon-ng, Shodan, theHarvester, searchcode, and so on.


After reading this page, you should have a good understanding of the questions outlined in the introduction section. Next, we will explore the benefits of OSINT.

See also

Want to learn practical Open-Source Intelligence skills? Enrol in MCSI’s MOIS - Certified OSINT Expert Program