What is OSINT investigation and reasons why you should aware about OSINT

Have you heard OSINT? What is OSINT? and why we should aware of it? Let me tell you, in a world of open data we really should aware about our personal or organization data that scatter out there. Without further ado let’s start talk about it.

OSINT stand for Open-Source Intelligence. OSINT refers to all information that available in public. This is a grey area about is it illegal or legal but that’s going to another article. For the first time, open-source intelligence mainly used in Intelligence or surveillance to gathering information in public. What kind of data that been harvesting? All data that you need. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) define as follow “Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) is an intelligence that produced from publicly available information and is collected, exploited, and disseminated in a timely manner to an appropriate audience for the purpose or addressing a specific intelligence requirement”

“Publicity Available” is a term that we need to think as open-source intelligence investigator with because they must be accessible without breaching any law or piracy law. Like I said before, it’s still a grey area.

How about the data leak that available in the public? In that case this kind of data we will call it NOSINT (Non-Open Source). You should treat NOSINT in a different way because it’s obtains illegally.

Government, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), corporation, even private investigator relies on open-source intelligence data. You can imagine all the big data that available in the internet.

For example, try search your name on search engine like Google and see how much personal information you’ll find in the first page. Even by email or phone number you can still be found. If you want to know more about OSINT tools you can check the OSINT framework. This framework can give you an insight how to conduct investigation properly by using method and the right tools.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


OSINT data can be harvested from many sources that available in public. Below is the list of places where you can gather a lot OSINT data.

  • The Internet always the first place when you try looking for information. Search engine, blog or website, forums, social media, YouTube even Wikipedia can your source of data. It does not stop right there, going deeper into the dark web that search engine cannot reach will give you even more. Here’s the trick with search engine, you can use search operator to maximize the best result
  • Traditional mass media like newspaper, television, radio, magazine, or various book
  • Journal or academic paper
  • Photo or Video with metadata
  • Geospatial data


Why use OSINT data? There is a lot reason, some of them is accessing data that available in pubic is legal unless the data itself obtain illegally for example by hacking and sharing in public forum. We can say that obtain data with OSINT is less risky than using human resource. By using data that freely available on the public also has another advantage is can be used with minimal cost.

Why you should aware of OSINT

Think about your personal information out there. Do you use social media like Facebook, or Instagram? Messaging apps like WhatsApp? There is consequence when you consent to give access to the developers. There are two types of information that big apps companies usually harvest from the user, the first one is private information like name, birth date, ID number or parent’s name and second is anonymous data like the operating system or IP address. Always read the agreement before using any service that available out there.


That’s all about the OSINT investigation. In this article you already learn a general about what is OSINT really do, types and where to get the data, even reason why you should aware about personal information that you put out there. The next article is how to use available tools OSINT for social media account or email even image metadata processing etc. See you 😊


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