Michael bazzell open source intelligence techniques pdf

9th Edition Changes & Summary

If you have the 8th edition of this book, you may want to know what has changed in this 9th edition. The previous edition of this book was originally written in late 2020. Soon after publication, I declared that I was taking a break from writing, which I did. In late 2021, I was asked to update this book, as it is required reading for numerous college courses, university degrees, and government training academies. I never want stale or inaccurate information being presented within training programs, so I created a special hardcover revision for these audiences. I then replicated the content within a more affordable paperback version. In the previous editions, I only published a new version once I had at least 30% new material and 30% updated content. The recycled material was kept to a maximum of 40%. With this edition, I have deviated away from that rule. I estimate that only 20% of the content here is changed, with the remaining 80% recycled from the previous edition. Much of the eighth edition content was still applicable and only needed minor updates to reflect changes since 2020. If you have read the previous edition, you will find most of those overall strategies within this book. However, I have added many new OSINT methods which complement the original text in order to cater to those who always need accurate information. I also removed a lot of outdated content which was no longer applicable. I believe there is much new value within this updated text. The majority of the updates are available in chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, 27, and 28, along with the digital files which accompany them. The other chapters all have minor updates.

All purchases include free download of updated custom search tools; updated Linux, Mac, and Windows OSINT scripts to build your own virtual machines; detailed cheat-sheets to simplify each process; and a single Linux command to build a complete 2022 OSINT VM with every tool in the entire book. You can find your custom login link and credentials within chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 of each book which provides permanent online access to all files. The outline is below.


SECTION I: OSINT Preparation

CHAPTER 01: Computer Optimization
CHAPTER 02: Linux Virtual Machine
CHAPTER 03: Web Browsers
CHAPTER 04: Linux Applications
CHAPTER 05: VM Maintenance & Preservation
CHAPTER 06: Mac & Windows Hosts
CHAPTER 07: Android Emulation
CHAPTER 08: Custom Search Tools

SECTION II: OSINT Resources and Techniques

CHAPTER 09: Search Engines
CHAPTER 10: Social Networks: Facebook
CHAPTER 11: Social Networks: Twitter
CHAPTER 12: Social Networks: Instagram
CHAPTER 13: Social Networks: General
CHAPTER 14: Online Communities
CHAPTER 15: Email Addresses
CHAPTER 16: Usernames
CHAPTER 17: People Search Engines
CHAPTER 18: Telephone Numbers
CHAPTER 19: Online Maps
CHAPTER 20: Documents
CHAPTER 21: Images
CHAPTER 22: Videos
CHAPTER 23: Domain Names
CHAPTER 24: IP Addresses
CHAPTER 25: Government & Business Records
CHAPTER 26: Virtual Currencies
CHAPTER 27: Advanced Linux Tools
CHAPTER 28: Data Breaches & Leaks


CHAPTER 29: Methodology & Workflow
CHAPTER 30: Documentation
CHAPTER 31: Policy & Ethics


How this guide is structured

This guide is intended for early career practitioners or those wanting to transition to an OSINT job. It lays out fundamental building blocks that you should know about when learning OSINT. It’s important to highlight that this is not the only way to become an OSINT practitioner. Nor is it a guaranteed way of finding an OSINT job quickly. It’s best to view this guide as a reference point that you can use throughout your learning journey. It will be a living document with regular updates.

There are three main parts, covering the following aspects:

1) Theoretical concepts and other important basics – an often underestimated but critical part. It will lay the foundation for your OSINT knowledge. Here you’ll learn about essential concepts and definitions like what is intelligence and what is OSINT? How does it differ from data and information? What’s the difference between the internet and the world wide web? And many other important issues.

2) Practical skills at a basic to advanced level. This will equip you with commonly used techniques and tools as well as make you aware of when and in which context they can be used most effectively.

3) How to stay up to date in the world of OSINT.

Why the basics are so important

Understanding the basics is critical. As with many other professions, it’s not possible to jump straight in without having a bit of background knowledge. You wouldn’t try to fix an electrical problem in your house without knowing how the electrical system works. Or at least we hope you wouldn’t. The same applies for OSINT.

As an OSINT professional, you should be able to explain in simple and technical terms how you arrived at X, which tools and techniques you used as well as what they do and how they work, whilst highlighting gaps and limitations of your analysis. Without the background knowledge this wouldn’t be possible.

Another important point that we at OSINT-JOBS.com want to stress is that OSINT should not be merely seen as a collection of links – OSINT is a multi-facetted profession that requires, depending on the job, a wide range of skills, including analytical and writing skills – just to name a few.

Part 1: understanding basic and theoretical concepts in OSINT

To get you started with some of the important basic concepts in OSINT, have a look at the following reading list. This should provide you with a good overview.

Introduction to OSINT and several basic concepts

History of OSINT

Introduction to basic OPSEC and digital security

Fundamental concepts

Introduction to intelligence analysis – cognitive biases and structured analytic techniques

Introduction to intelligence writing

Comprehensive Reading List

As noted earlier, this list is not exhaustive and we are going to add more reading material in the future. If you would like to share anything that you think should be on here, please let us know and we’ll add it!

Part 2: learning fundamental OSINT techniques and practice, practice, practice

Once you understood some of the most important basic concepts in OSINT, it’s time to gain some practical skills. There’s no perfect or one way of doing this; however, we want to emphasise the importance of learning how to use search engines first. Yes, search engines!

In fact, once you understood how they actually work and how to use them effectively and efficiently, you can find any information you want and even specify the format, such as image, video, text or various other file formats. This is pretty powerful, if you think about it, as it opens up an unlimited number of use cases.

Similar to the importance of understanding basic concepts in OSINT, it is crucial to understand the time it takes to master specific OSINT skills. Geolocating photos and videos, for example, is probably one such skill that requires practice and sometimes an extraordinary amount of patience and tenacity. Reading case studies, watching YouTube tutorials, or practicing with QuizTime challenges can be immensely helpful when learning how to do it; but don’t get fooled by how “easy” or “logical” it appears when going through case studies by others.

It’s one thing to understand why the investigator in that case started with clue A and continued pursuing clue B and C to ultimately find the location. But it’s another skill to make these decisions, especially when working under pressure and time constraints. The main point is here that OSINT skills can be learned by anyone but to truly master specific skills, patience and practice is required.

Recommended blogs, projects, and YouTube channels for OSINT

To help you start practicing some OSINT skills, we’ve collated this list of various blogs, projects and YouTube channels that have produced a wealth of OSINT knowledge – knowledge that is freely available to anyone in the world.

If you like to share resources that are not listed here, please get in touch!

Recommend Podcasts for OSINT

Listening to podcasts is another great way to grow your OSINT skills. Here’s a list of shows that regularly publish episodes – in no particular order:

Additional ways of learning OSINT

For those who wish to follow a more structured and guided OSINT learning path, you should check out the OSINT Dojo – “a project that aims to guide those new to Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) through the first steps of their journey”.

Most recently, Bellingcat’s Giancarlo Fiorella has published a comprehensive guide that not only talks about the difference between OSINT and open source research but also provides very practical advice and guidance on how to get started. You can find it here: “First Steps to Getting Started in Open Source Research”.

Part 3: Keeping up to date with OSINT

Keeping up with the latest news and techniques can be tedious. But don’t worry there are many OSINT experts out there that have done the heavy lifting for you. The following resources, will show you where and how to keep up, so you can focus on learning and practicing:

Wrapping up

Finally, As stated at the beginning, this guide should be seen as a reference point for your OSINT learning journey. All of the resources listed here are completely free. Nevertheless, we also want to stress the importance of professional training. Reading blog posts, reports, and other material are extremely helpful but professional training courses should not be disregarded. Being able to ask questions, receive specialist training in a wide range of areas, and practice in controlled environments will sharpen your OSINT skill set and advance your career.

We hope this guide will help you start your OSINT journey. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to get in touch with us via email ([email protected]) or reach out via  Twitter.

Written by Jane