How to Protect Your Assets with Due Diligence OSINT Techniques?

OSINT means open-source intelligence, which refers to information that exists in the public domain and is sourced from open online sources. Much valuable insight can be found by simply searching online. Businesses use OSINT techniques for due diligence reasons to protect their assets and mitigate risks against their company.

As author, John Perry Barlow once said, “Today, the same commercial mentality that creates vast accumulations of easily accessible data is feeding an equally vast appetite for applicable intelligence about People and things.” Free online tools, coupled with publicly available data, give access to a wealth of intelligence on partners, clients, competitors, and more that can help leaders who are on the verge of making well-informed decisions.

This article will focus on some practical techniques in OSINT that you can start implementing today.

Why OSINT Matters for Due Diligence

Jenny Pearl said, “Information is the currency of the 21st century.” In doing due diligence on the partners, clients, or types of investments, updated insights will give critical intelligence to measure any form of risk since their values align with your organization. OSINT techniques enable investigating persons and enterprises without their awareness. A properly set-up OSINT framework can identify vital red flags or opportunities with ease, quickly analyzing open-source data.

OSINT Techniques to Try

There are plenty of OSINT techniques within the current toolkit of modern analyst tools: search and social media monitoring through to open web and dark web research. A good OSINT framework will typically include:

  • Search engine optimization.
  • Searches in 7-10+ social media platforms.
  • Open web aggregator tools that can be used to cross-check results.

It is also wise to utilize specialized sites that have already filtered out the many quality open sources. When all these OSINT techniques are pulled together, valuable information will begin to build up over time.

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Research Potential Partners

Insisting that “information doesn’t want to be collected, it wants to be free,” privacy advocate Cooper Quintin has little faith in data collection. Vetting any possible clients or partners is a critical part of mitigating risk. OSINT can turn up many interesting details to consider regarding the management team’s background information and business relationships, press coverage, and the state of their finances. Address verifications and domain tools hold more context. An ‘outside-in’ perspective in terms of thoughtfully analyzing Open source intelligence techniques ( OSINT) can provide prudent protection of your assets in the long run.

Research Your Own Company

Michel Foucault once said, “Knowledge is power.” Running regular OSINT on your own company in precisely the same way you did for the other two companies helps ensure that you know what’s out there. It can underline inconsistencies and the information on sites and track how your brand is discussed from an online perspective. For a couple of sectors, such as banking and pharma, continuous monitoring is already part of the rulebook.

Monitoring for Risks

Security expert Bruce Schneier once stated, “Security is a process, not a product.” Setting up custom alerts for the emergence of potential issues within your OSINT framework is vital for a variety of reasons. Statistics show that almost 60% of all serious data breaches were preceded by some detectable warning sign on the open web. Regular OSINT reviews assist in detecting early warnings of fresh risks coming from new developments with partners, red flags from peer OSINT industries, or any hacking or fraudulent activity originating from other hackers, fraudsters, or participants in illegal activities. This positions an organization to be better at resilience and has a chance to plan contingencies timely.

Doing Regular Checks

Applying the core tenets of the OSINT cycle, checks should become part of intelligence planning regularly. Indeed, studies show that the half-life of valuable digital information is heavily decreasing to just over three months; channeling resources to regular scanning thereby helps to minimize the ‘blackout’ risk for your situational awareness. With new AI-driven OSINT tools, teams can far more efficiently analyze terabytes worth of open-source data against tailored alert rules. Automating time-bound tasks frees analysts to do more specialized work. Even the commitment of 1-2 hours a week to OSINT monitoring goes a long way toward ensuring that your base of information stays current and in line with the Principle of OSINT of modern intelligence.

Tips for Effective OSINT Searches

  • Employ special search operators and region-specific keywords for more accuracy: advanced Search and area-specific search terms for greater precision. Search names, e-mail addresses, and exact phrases are in quotation marks. 
  • Save useful pages, forums, and tools aiding constant information on the intelligence picture. Utilize specialist databases and OSINT services via their periodic update.
  • Extract, structure, and analyze findings centrally according to the OSINT cycle for developing Foresight
  • About 75% of the relevant business information is available only for 1 to 2 years. Hence, periodic scans are fundamental.

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