Online and Offline Forensics with OSINT

July 12, 2021

In 2020, the novel coronavirus brought the world more than a health pandemic. It also brought a cyber pandemic that has only grown with the passage of time. Almost every industry got hit. From bot attacks to leaks of data and fake news, each new attack only got more creative and technologically advanced.

These cyberattacks have had serious “offline” consequences for businesses, governments, and whole populations in terms of safety, finances, order, compliance, and reputation. So, can we stop them? Is there a vaccine equivalent to create “herd immunity” in the business world? Can attackers be caught faster?

In this post, we’ll discuss how to prevent cybercrime with OSINT and explore how automated OSINT tools can add value to cyber intelligence security as well as online and offline forensic investigations.

Like the coronavirus, attackers look for vulnerabilities. These include negligent behavior, lack of knowledge, the self-delusionary thinking that posits “it won’t happen to me,” and lack of protective measures, among others.

One way to act proactively against potential attacks is to use OSINT and WEBINT tools. If you’re under the impression that these tools can only protect against criminal activity online, and would be ineffective in solving offline cases, let us prove otherwise. Take for example what happened in January 2020. That day, shortly after Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, operating between Tehran and Kiev, took from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, it was shot down. Chaos ensued and no one knew what had happened. It was thanks to the use of OSINT cyber forensics experts expeditiously solved the mystery of this crash and achieved cyber attribution.

Criminal behavior transcends the boundaries between online and offline. So does OSINT’s effectiveness. There are a myriad of ways OSINT transforms online information into offline insights. For instance, let’s assume investigators identify a publicly available digital file related to an attack. The metadata of that file can offer exact geolocation data such as GPS coordination.

OSINT tools can offer critical information and support the acceleration of digital forensics investigations. To expedite the process even further, many law enforcement agencies and businesses turn to automated, AI-powered OSINT and WEBINT solutions such as those offered by Cobwebs Technologies.

Within the same amount of time, an automated OSINT tool achieves exponentially more than a human digital forensics analyst, turbo-crawling the massive online space in order to identify relevant data. This data can help prevent an imminent attack in the cyber world as well as the offline world. It can also help catch perpetrators if and when an attack takes place.

The cyber pandemic has its ups and downs. Only if the business community and law enforcement take stronger proactive measures, everyone will be better protected – from companies to employees to everyday people.

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