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Glossary

OSINT

What does OSINT stand for?

OSINT stands for Open Source Intelligence.

What is OSINT?

OSINT is the collection and analysis of publicly available information from various sources like websites, social media, public records, and more. It is used to gather intelligence for security assessments, threat analysis, and other purposes without the need for intrusive methods. OSINT is typically gathered to answer a specific intelligence question.

What are the use cases for OSINT?

  1. Cybersecurity: OSINT plays an important role in cybersecurity. It’s used to identify and investigate security threats and vulnerabilities. OSINT can provide information about the nature and scope of a cyberattack, which is valuable for formulating an effective incident response strategy.
  2. Business intelligence: Organizations can use OSINT to analyze market trends and competitors.
  3. Law enforcement: OSINT is widely used to gather evidence and intelligence on criminal activities. For example, law enforcement agencies frequently interact with the dark web to gather information on illicit activities and potential suspects.

How is OSINT different from other intelligence research methods?

OSINT relies on publicly available information, making it an approachable method that doesn’t require access to restricted information. It is cost-effective, legal, and can be conducted without the knowledge or permission of the investigated subject due to its public nature. 

What are the OSINT techniques?

Since OSINT incorporates any publicly available information on the internet, it can be gathered in many different ways. Some of the most popular techniques include:

  • Using search engines to find information
  • Accessing government and other public records
  • Social media monitoring to find information about individuals and groups
  • Analyzing data from images, posts, or devices to determine geolocation
  • Accessing dark web forums or pastebin sites to analyze criminal activity

What is the downside of using OSINT?

The main downside to using OSINT is that it often leads to information overload, where filtering actionable insights from a pile of nothing can be challenging. OSINT cannot be taken at face value. It must be analyzed to distinguish valid information from false or misleading claims. Security teams shouldn’t rely on OSINT alone, as it may not provide the real-time or specific data needed to counteract sophisticated cyber threats.

How does SpyCloud’s next-generation intelligence differ from OSINT?

SpyCloud’s next-generation intelligence goes beyond OSINT and traditional threat intel by operationalizing data exfiltrated by malware and recaptured from the criminal underground. It provides real-time and actionable insights, enabling organizations to swiftly respond to security threats. SpyCloud focuses on identifying exposures and mitigating threats like account takeovers, targeted account takeover attacks, and session hijacking – offering a more comprehensive and effective approach to security compared to the broad and general nature of OSINT.

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