What is OSINT?
From a red teamer’s standpoint, OSINT can be a useful tool for gathering information about a target organization or individual from the perspective of a red teamer. Vulnerabilities can be identified, attacks can be planned, and sensitive data can be accessed with this information. Red team members might use OSINT in the following ways:
- Determining the organization’s security posture and incident response capabilities
- Identifying potential phishing targets and social engineering opportunities
- Locating information that could be used to impersonate employees or authorized users
- Identifying employees and their roles within the target organization
- Mapping the organization’s physical and digital assets
- Identifying public-facing web applications and associated infrastructure
In general, OSINT allows red teamers to gain a deeper understanding of the target organization and its people, processes, and technology, which can be used to create more effective and realistic attack scenarios.
From the perspective of a red team, the OSINT procedure typically consists of several steps:
Red team members can use a variety of OSINT tools to gather and evaluate information from publicly accessible sources. Some common instruments include:
- Tools for scraping the web: Red teamers are able to automatically extract information from websites and other online resources thanks to these tools. Parsehub, Beautiful Soup, Grep.app and Scrapy are examples.
- Web search engines: Search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo are tools that red teamers can use to learn more about their targets. They can also refine their search results and locate specific types of information by utilizing advanced search operators.
- OSINT Google Hacking (https://www.osintguru.com/blog/osint-google-hacking)
- Tools for scraping social media: Red teamers can use these tools to get information from social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Maltego, Social-Engineer Toolkit (SET), and Ghost Project are examples.
- Social-Engineer Toolkit Guide – (https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/how-to-install-social-engineering-toolkit-in-kali-linux/)
- Tools for network scanning and reconnaissance: Red teamers can use these tools to learn more about a target organization’s network and infrastructure. Nmap, Nessus, and Metasploit are examples.
- Tools for web archives: Red team members can use these tools to access older versions of websites and other online resources. The Wayback Machine and Archive.org are two examples.
- Using Archive.org for OSINT investigations (https://osintcurio.us/2021/03/03/using-archive-org-for-osint-investigations/)
- Data visualization tools: Red team members are able to present their findings in a clear and concise manner thanks to these tools. Maltego, Gephi, and Tableau are examples.
- Maltego OSINT Intro (https://warnerchad.medium.com/maltego-osint-tool-intro-a37d9e8bd775)
Even though red teamers frequently make use of these tools, they must be used in accordance with legal and ethical guidelines and with permissions that are appropriate. In addition, a red teamer ought to have a solid comprehension of the instruments they are utilizing, their capabilities, and the information they are able to extract.
How can I protect my organization from OSINT?
There are several tips that organizations can follow to improve their information security when it comes to OSINT:
- Conduct regular OSINT assessments: Organizations should regularly assess the information that is publicly available about them and identify any sensitive or confidential information that could be used by an attacker.
- Limit the amount of sensitive information shared online: Organizations should be careful about the information they share online and limit the amount of sensitive or confidential information that is available to the public.
- Implement strict access controls: Organizations should implement strict access controls to protect sensitive information and limit the number of individuals who have access to it.
- Use encryption: Organizations should use encryption to protect sensitive information and ensure that it cannot be accessed by unauthorized individuals.
- Monitor for data breaches: Organizations should monitor for data breaches and take action to quickly contain and mitigate any breaches that occur.
- Train employees on information security: Organizations should train their employees on information security best practices, such as not sharing sensitive information on social media and identifying phishing attempts.
- Be aware of your legal obligations: Organizations should be aware of their legal obligations regarding data privacy and protection and take steps to ensure that they are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
- Be proactive about removing personal data: Organizations should proactively seek out and remove personal data, if possible, from any publicly accessible sources, especially if it is not necessary for the business operations.
These tips can help organizations to better protect sensitive information and reduce the risk of data breaches, but it’s important to remember that information security is an ongoing process and requires continuous monitoring and updating.