OSINT Lesson №1: Mind-Mapping

Today, I’d like to discuss how to become a competent OSINT investigator. Before we get started, though, let me clarify a little bit: I will only cover a portion of the subject because it is so broad that a single guide cannot possibly cover it all. Nevertheless, I will attempt to guide you through this process!

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Keep in mind, the purpose of this essay is to educate! Think carefully about what you do, or else you risk being prosecuted or worse! Always keep in mind ethics and relevant laws, such as GDPR, etc.

As practice shows, modern armed conflicts require new approaches to organizing the collection and analysis of open data, which we operate within the framework of OSINT. Be careful with it and think twice before acting!

While OSINT provides a wealth of information, it is crucial to navigate the ethical boundaries of this practice. Some key considerations include:

  • Privacy: Strive to respect an individual’s privacy and ensure that data collection is conducted following legal and ethical guidelines. Avoid infringing upon personal boundaries or conducting unauthorized surveillance.

  • Accuracy and Integrity: Verify information from multiple credible sources to minimize the potential for misinformation or misinterpretation. Maintain transparency and ensure findings are objective and unbiased.

  • Legal Compliance: Adhere to legal frameworks and regulations governing the collection, storage, and use of data. Respect intellectual property rights and avoid breaches of copyright or intellectual property laws.

  • Contextual Awareness: Recognize the potential impact and consequences of disseminating intelligence, considering the potential harm that can result from unverified or misused information.

  • Responsible Use: Apply OSINT for legitimate purposes, maintaining professional integrity, and avoiding actions that may lead to harm, discrimination, or illegal activities.

As the power of information continues to shape our world, OSINT emerges as an indispensable tool in the arsenal of intelligence specialists. By utilizing publicly available information, OSINT uncovers insights and unearths narratives that were once hidden in plain sight.

However, with great power comes great responsibility, and ethical considerations must guide the practice of OSINT. By adhering to legal frameworks, respecting privacy, and maintaining accuracy and integrity, OSINT specialists can unlock the full potential of this powerful tool while ensuring its responsible and ethical use.

So today, I will delve into the world of OSINT in this article, examining its significance, methodologies, and the ethical implications of its use!

What Exactly Is OSINT?

Open Source Intelligence, commonly referred to as OSINT, is the collection, collation, and analysis of publicly available information. OSINT is a tradecraft developed in the national security sector that has now expanded through a range of sectors, including law enforcement, journalism, corporate security, academic research, and the legal sector. OSINT can also be used to support charitable causes!

OSINT has revolutionized the world of investigations, empowering individuals and organizations to uncover valuable information, solve complex problems, and make informed decisions. The ability to harness the vast amount of data available in open sources has opened up new possibilities and transformed the investigative landscape.

By utilizing OSINT tools effectively, investigators can save time, gather comprehensive information, and uncover connections that may have otherwise remained hidden. The techniques and methodologies explored in this guide provide a roadmap for conducting thorough and successful OSINT investigations.

OSINT refers to the process of collecting, analyzing, and utilizing publicly available information to gather intelligence. Unlike classified intelligence sources, which are often restricted and controlled, OSINT operates within the realm of openly accessible data from the internet, social media, public records, academic research, and more. This vast pool of information harbors countless insights waiting to be discovered, making OSINT a powerful asset in a variety of fields.

Successful OSINT specialists employ a systematic approach to navigate the ever-expanding digital landscape. The process typically involves the following steps:

  • Define the Objective: Clearly establish what information is sought, ensuring its relevancy and potential applications.

  • Source Identification: Identify and categorize potential sources, ranging from social media platforms, forums, and blogs to government databases and academic papers.

  • Data Collection: Utilize specialized tools and techniques to gather relevant and comprehensive data from the identified sources.

  • Data Analysis: Analyze and filter collected data, extracting meaningful insights and patterns that address the initial objective.

  • Verification and Cross-referencing: Determine the credibility and accuracy of the information through cross-referencing with multiple sources, to maintain the integrity of the intelligence.

  • Reporting: Present the findings in a clear and concise manner, ensuring its relevance to the intended audience and addressing any potential risks and limitations.

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, information is the currency of power. Governments, corporations, and individuals alike seek to gain a competitive edge by uncovering hidden insights and exposing concealed truths.

Last but not least, everything you do is dictated by the results you must attain! Rather than utilizing all the resources and links, you ought to be able to choose trustworthy and vetted sources. Always think twice before acting, follow the law, and follow the OpSec rules. If you want to help or conduct social investigations but lack experience, please reach out to more experienced people so that you do not harm the victims or those attempting to save them.

In my articles, on the other hand, I reveal a different application of OSINT, inspired by due diligence and civil financial intelligence, with a focus on civilian applications.

You should be able to create your own journey using the routes that are provided! Then I’ll tell you about the methods that I think are secure and that I advise my clients to use! This manual is the result of decades of work by OSINT professionals who shared their decades of experience in every word. Once again, think of this guidebook as an encyclopedia of tips and routes.

As Ron Kaminsky once said, “Remember, your job for this last step is to create a plan for sustaining and enhancing your OSINT abilities.” Select some resources for lifelong learning, look for challenges to take on, and think about becoming a part of an OSINT community. Finally, make sure you are always operating responsibly and with respect by going over your ethical guidelines.

Enter Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), an invaluable tool that empowers specialists to harness information from publicly available sources to produce actionable intelligence. In this article, we will delve into the world of OSINT, examining its significance, methodologies, and the ethical implications of its use.

Mind-Mapping: In-Depth

Let’s first dissect the idea of mind mapping. Teaching students how to organize information based on various standards is crucial, and you can practice organizing any kind of information you want!

What is Maltego and why use it for OSINT? Maltego is a data mining tool that mines a variety of open-source data resources and uses that data to create graphs for analyzing connections.


The graphs allow you to easily make connections between information such as name, email organizational structure, domains, documents, etc. Maltego uses Java so it can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux and is available in many OSINT Linux distros like Buscador or Kali.

Basically, it will parse a large amount of information and search various open-source websites for you and then toss out a pretty looking graph that will help you put the pieces together. Maltego can be used as a resource at any point during the investigation however if your target is a domain it makes sense to start mapping the network with Maltego from the start.

Didn’t everyone make cheat sheets at school? It’s time to do it again, because in the future it should evolve into a Maltego skill!

Once you can distinguish the information, sort it out then the next thing you can do is start practicing. As you know, good practice requires good motivation! You only need to know one thing: people think that intelligence is fixed — but it isn’t.

  • Your brain is like a muscle; the more you use it, the more it grows. Education is no longer a one-time event, but a lifelong experience:
  • Since this is an atypical guide, I think it’s worthwhile to offer you a list of TV shows and movies that I think involve OSINT in one way or another:
  • Join communities, of course and chat, chat! Below I’ve only mentioned English-speaking communities but there are also local ones, do some research on your own. Check this out:
  • If so, then try playing Dozor or Encounter (or any NightGame based on codebreaking or geolocation or Escapology or Lock-Picking) together:

Here is a very good brain-stretching game will help to train associative thinking — a very important skill for anyone in OSINT:

When I was young we played «5 steps till Ragnarok» — the goal was to find the page about this myth in 5 steps (5 clicks) from any random Wikipedia page!

Carefully study these resources and come back to them as you journey through the world of the hornets, don’t forget the roots. This article does not answer questions, but rather raises some rhetorical questions to encourage you to think about something!

Understanding OSINT Fundamentals

  • a. Grasp the concept of OSINT and its significance in intelligence gathering.

  • b. Familiarize yourself with the types of OSINT sources (e.g., social media, public records, online forums, news outlets).

  • c. Learn the ethical and legal considerations when collecting OSINT.

Developing Technical Skills:

  • a. Acquire proficiency in basic computer and internet usage.

  • b. Learn advanced search techniques using search engines and operators.

  • c. Understand the importance of anonymity and acquire skills in using VPNs, proxies, and the Tor network.

  • d. Familiarize yourself with essential OSINT tools, such as Maltego, Shodan, and Google Dorks.

Mastering OSINT Collection:

  • a. Learn how to identify and prioritize intelligence requirements.

  • b. Develop a systematic approach to collecting data from various sources.

  • c. Hone your skills in social engineering, passive reconnaissance, and online reconnaissance.

  • d. Acquire expertise in geolocation, imagery analysis, and tracking down information on individuals and organizations.

OSINT Analysis and Evaluation:

  • a. Learn various analysis techniques, such as link analysis, timeline analysis, and sentiment analysis.

  • b. Develop critical thinking and cognitive bias awareness.

  • c. Understand the significance of the intelligence cycle and apply it to OSINT analysis.

  • d. Evaluate the credibility and reliability of sources and information.

OSINT Dissemination and Reporting:

  • a. Familiarize yourself with the principles of effective communication.

  • b. Learn how to create intelligence reports, briefs, and visualizations.

  • c. Understand the importance of tailoring your reporting to different audiences.

  • d. Develop the ability to present findings in a clear, concise, and actionable manner.

Continuous Improvement and Networking:

  • a. Stay updated on the latest OSINT trends, tools, and techniques.

  • b. Participate in relevant online communities, forums, and social media groups.

  • c. Attend OSINT conferences, workshops, and webinars.

By following this framework, beginners can systematically develop their OSINT skills and become proficient in open source intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination. OSINT (Open-source Intelligence) is also a crucial stage of the penetration testing process:

A thorough examination of publicly available information can increase the chances of finding a vulnerable system, gaining valid credentials through password spraying, or gaining a foothold via social engineering.

Classical Rhetoric & OSINT:

According to wondersmith_rae, Aristotle’s “elements of circumstance” have been used to analyze rhetorical questions for centuries in classical rhetoric. They are also applicable to modern analysis and can serve as the foundation for an investigation. (Who, what, when, where, why, how, and by what means).

A tiny tip — perform power-searching with using different IPs, over different time ranges and via different search engines.

A condensed yet equally valuable version of the elements is called the “5W’s and an H” or Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. These questions have been used in rhetoric, religious study, police investigations, journalism, and by lawyers since ancient Greece. It is said that an investigation can not be truly complete until all of the Ws and the H can be answered.

Information relevant to your case is on the Internet, usually hiding in plain sight. Business records, domain name registrations, websites, online user identities, social media posts, photos, and videos are only a search query away. Do you know how to find it? Learn how open source information can impact a broad range of matters and how to effectively identify sources of information and search for open source data.

Applying the same elements to our OSINT investigations we can ask and answer similar questions. By answering the 5W’s a narrative begins to emerge from our collected data. It is now up to us as analysts to connect the dots in a succinct way. The catch is, that anyone who has done research knows that when information starts to be uncovered it is easy to get stuck in a rabbit hole.

Check out the most unusual OSINT guide you’ve ever seen. This manual is the culmination of years of work by OSINT professionals. Consider this guidebook to be a compilation of advice and routes:

Work: A-Z

I would see it as learning a foreign language. Okay, you have learned it and come to a country where it is spoken to live. But everyone there knows this language…

So it’s important to know something else in addition. Typically, it is necessary to have writing skills, interact well with people, or be a lawyer. With all said, different approaches require different skills and mind-sets!


Open Source Intelligence serves as a powerful tool in today’s information-driven world. Its ability to uncover valuable insights, identify potential threats, and inform decision-making processes makes OSINT an indispensable component of many industries and sectors.

Understanding the value of your organisation’s information, potential attack vectors, and who might be targeted in phishing attacks or other types of social engineering is essential. OSINT can aid you in assessing these risks and planning appropriate defences!

By following best practices, employing advanced methodologies, and staying abreast of emerging technologies, OSINT specialists hold the key to unlocking unprecedented opportunities in the realm of information gathering and analysis. As we move forward, the evolving landscapes of technology, privacy, and collaboration will shape the future of OSINT, reminding us of the critical role it plays in our interconnected world!

If you want to support my work, please consider donating me to the address:

You can also send me a donation to the address from this repository!

Thank you!

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