In this blog, Matt Rossiter, Director of Tradecraft at Fivecast explores the evolving role of OSINT in relation to social media insights and key intelligence use cases.
The intelligence environment has evolved over recent years, influenced by many factors, including tech-savvy threat actors, the rapid spread of online communications, increased social unrest, and changing geopolitical dynamics. Government and corporate sectors alike are facing an increasing volume and diversity of threats to their communities and businesses. These threats, combined with masses of data from exploding numbers of online platforms, create a perfect storm of challenges for intelligence teams. As the threat landscape evolves, the technology used to uncover these threats must also evolve – that is where advanced OSINT solutions play a critical role.
Increasingly, insights essential to uncovering threats and protecting global communities are delivered via OSINT technology.
Open-Source Intelligence Use Cases
OSINT has emerged as an invaluable primary intelligence source across law enforcement, intelligence, defense, security vetting, and corporate agencies worldwide for multiple use cases. Recently, I published a short paper that positions OSINT in the context of key use cases spanning business, criminal, regulatory, and national security sectors.
Showcasing advancements in data collection and the development of risk detection frameworks driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning, I explore how OSINT is being applied to selected use cases including:
- Identifying threats from ideologically or religiously motivated violent extremism
- Understanding risks to communities arising from gang activity
- Implementing automated processes for security vetting and insider threat detection
- Monitoring and managing risks to global supply chains
Of course, the above represents just a selection of use cases that benefit from OSINT right now. Others include transnational crime, influence operations, conducting due diligence and fraud detection in the financial intelligence space, and addressing human trafficking.
OSINT is now an integral component of the analyst toolbox required to address contemporary intelligence challenges. This paper aims to help intelligence and investigation teams from both private and public organizations understand the evolving innovations in OSINT technology and apply these critical capabilities to their intelligence missions.