This is a continuation of the article: OSINT: A THOUGHTFULNESS ABOUT THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THIS TECHNIQUE
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the amount of information available online is growing constantly. With this abundance of data, the need to verify the authenticity of the information when it's found grows as well. OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) plays a crucial role in this context, allowing individuals and organizations to obtain valuable information from publicly accessible sources.
However, the authenticity of OSINT findings is a constant concern. With the increasing spread of fake news and the manipulation of facts, it is essential for researchers to be able to confirm the veracity of the data they find. Confidence in the quality and accuracy of these findings is critical to making better decisions in many areas, such as cybersecurity and law enforcement for example.
By understanding and applying sound verification strategies, OSINT professionals can ensure that their findings are credible and have a significantly positive impact. Another important topic is that verification of authenticity is a continuous and dynamic process, requiring constant updating of knowledge and adaptation to new strategies for handling information. However, with the proper application of investigative methods, we can build a solid foundation for the reliability of the findings and promote a more informed and resilient society in the face of the challenges of the information age.
In this article, we will talk about some fundamentally important tools with regard to confirming the reliability of the findings in OSINT. It can be considered support material for those involved in the collection and analysis of information, facilitating the discernment between what is reliable and potentially misleading.
- GOOGLE LENS:
Google Lens can be helpful in confirming the authenticity of an image through different approaches. Here are some ways this tool can help with this process:
- Image search: Google Lens allows you to do a reverse search using an image as input. This means you can provide the suspect image and let Google Lens find results related to that image across the web. If the image is authentic, chances are you’ll find matches from a variety of reputable sources. On the other hand, if it is faked or modified, it may be more difficult to find accurate matches, or you may find that the image is used in different and inconsistent contexts.
- Editing or manipulation detection: For example, if you suspect that an image has been modified, you can use Google Lens to examine specific details, such as blurred areas, overlays or visible distortions. Additionally, Google Lens may provide information about where the image came from, such as if it was pulled from a specific website, or if it’s a screenshot, a photo of a physical print, etc. These clues can help assess the authenticity of the image.
- Comparison with trusted sources: Google Lens may provide additional information about an image, such as the description or metadata associated with the image. You can use this information to compare against credible sources such as news sites, government agencies, photo archives or other authentic media databases. This can help verify that the image conforms to the information provided and corresponds to known events or situations.
- Context analysis: For example, if you suspect that an image is fake or misleading, you can use Google Lens to identify objects, logos, signs, text or other elements in the photo and compare them to information available from trusted sources. This can help verify that the image is in compliance with the environment or scenario in which it is presented.
Let's use an image as an example for our analysis: It is a headline about a data leak promoted by a new hacker group.
At first, the news has a negative impact on readers, especially if they are European citizens residing in Europe, which can generate a chain reaction of panic.
When submitting the image to Google Lens, we noticed that no information was found:
EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format)
It is a widely used metadata format in image files. Contains additional information about an image, such as the camera used, camera settings (aperture, shutter speed, ISO), date and time of capture, geographic location, and other technical details.
The presence of EXIF metadata in an image can be helpful in determining the validity and authenticity of the image in several ways:
- Camera information: EXIF metadata can reveal the model and manufacturer of the camera used to capture the image. If it claims to be from a specific camera, but the metadata indicates a different or incompatible model, this could suggest that the image has been faked or modified.
- Date and Time Details: The EXIF metadata includes the exact date and time the image was captured. This information can be used to verify the chronology of events associated with the image and determine if it fits the narrative presented.
- Geolocation: If the camera is enabled for location recording, the EXIF metadata can contain the geographic coordinates of the image capture. This information can be useful to verify if the location where the image was taken is in line with the claim or context in which it is presented.
- Camera Settings: EXIF metadata also records camera settings used during image capture, such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and other technical information. These settings can help verify the consistency of the technical characteristics of the image, especially in cases of modified or edited images.
Let's use another image as an example for our analysis: in this second case, we'll find out about a photograph taken in an excavation of a fossil found in the urban area of the city of Ankara, in Turkey:
With the analysis of the metadata presented by the website: https://exif.tools/, we were unable to obtain geographic information from the photograph, as well as from the camera settings, making us question whether it really is the region referred to above and whether it is an actual image.
It is an online tool that helps in researching and validating information in OSINT related to news and media. While not specifically designed to validate information, Anewstip does offer features that can be helpful in this process.
Here are some ways Anewstip can be helpful in validating OSINT information:
- News search and monitoring: Anewstip allows you to search and monitor news in real time. You can enter keywords, names of people, companies or specific topics to find news related to that information. This functionality can help verify that the information you have is mentioned in credible news sources and that other relevant related information is available.
- Identification of sources and journalists: Anewstip allows you to find journalists and experts in specific areas. When checking the validity of information, it is helpful to identify and contact journalists or experts who cover the issue in question. Anewstip can provide information about these professionals' past work, their social profiles and their areas of expertise, which can help assess the credibility of the information they disclose.
- Trend and Engagement Analysis: Anewstip also provides information on the performance and engagement of certain news. It shows how many times a piece of news was mentioned, shared on social networks and the level of interaction generated. This trend and engagement analysis can help assess the relevance and spread of a specific news story, which can provide insights into its validity and importance.
- Related News Exploration: Anewstip displays news related to a particular topic or story. When validating information, it is useful to explore other related news to get a more comprehensive view of the subject. Anewstip can help find other relevant stories and perspectives that can add context and confirmation to the information in question.
The news about the hackers published by the agency “Right On Time” was not found by ANEWSTIP.
It is a people search platform that can be useful in OSINT analysis. It allows you to perform detailed research on individuals and obtain relevant information about them from open sources available on the web.
Here are some ways PeekYou can be helpful in analyzing OSINT:
- Identification and Verification of People: PeekYou lets you search for people's names and can help identify individuals based on information available on the web. This can be useful for confirming someone's identity or finding additional information about a specific person.
- Exploring Social Media Profiles: PeekYou searches for social media profiles associated with a person, allowing you to get a more comprehensive view of their online presence. This can help identify a person's social media accounts, blogs, forums and other online activities. Analyzing these profiles can provide insights into a person's interests, associations, connections and behaviors.
- Professional Information Survey: PeekYou can also provide information about a person's professional career. It can show employment history, positions held, professional associations, and other related information. These details can help validate a person's work experience and provide a more complete picture of their profile.
- Analysis of relationships and connections: PeekYou allows you to visualize a person's connections and relationships through their information available online. This can be useful for identifying associations with other people, companies or groups, which can provide insight into a person's network.
- Online Credentials and Reputation Verification: By gathering information from various sources, PeekYou can help verify a person's credentials and online reputation. It provides an overview of a person's activities and online presence, allowing for a more complete analysis and an assessment of the credibility of the information found.
Verification of the authenticity of findings is an extremely relevant topic in the current panorama of the information society. In this article, we address some strategies to ensure the credibility of data obtained through OSINT, highlighting the importance of source analysis and cross-checking of information. However, it is essential to expand the discussion and consider some additional points related to this verification process.
First, it is crucial to recognize that verifying authenticity in OSINT is an ongoing challenge. With the emergence of new technologies and methods of manipulating information, malicious actors are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their tactics for spreading false data. Therefore, it is necessary to be constantly updated on the latest trends and techniques used by these actors in order to develop more robust verification strategies.
In addition, collaboration and knowledge sharing among professionals are fundamental in this process. Exchanging information about trusted sources, verification tools and best practices strengthens the cybersecurity community and helps improve the quality of authenticity verification. Partnerships between governments, academics and civil society organizations are also essential to combat the spread of misleading information and promote a culture of verification and accountability.
Another important aspect is the development of advanced technologies to assist in verifying authenticity in OSINT. Artificial intelligence, for example, can play a significant role in the automated analysis of large volumes of data, identifying patterns and inconsistencies that may indicate the presence of false information. Implementing these technologies can streamline the verification process and provide researchers with valuable insights.
In today's world, where the amount of information available is vast and the dissemination of fake news is a reality, verifying the authenticity of findings in OSINT plays a crucial role in guaranteeing the credibility of the data. This article has shared some of the tools available that serve as background material for a very effective information authenticity check.
It is important to understand that the verification of reliability is a continuous and constantly evolving process. There is no single solution that can guarantee the veracity of all data found. However, by applying the techniques and approaches discussed here, OSINT professionals and enthusiasts will be better prepared to make informed decisions based on reliable information.
It is similarly important to remember that the responsibility rests not only with the researchers, but also with the users of this information. It is up to each individual to critically evaluate the sources, analyze and share only reliable and validated data.
The images used on the news of the hacker leak and the fossil excavation in Ankara were created by the author with the purpose of illustrating the theme. They are not true information.