OSINT Basics

Course Duration: 3 days

We designed the OSINT Basics course to provide participants with essential knowledge and practical skills in Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). Participants will learn how to effectively leverage AI and OSINT tools to gather information from online sources and conduct investigations while maintaining operational security. This course is for investigators, researchers, journalists, and anyone interested in understanding the fundamentals of OSINT.

Day 1: The first day of the course focuses on operational security and foundational skills for analyzing publicly available information. Participants will learn about the risks associated with online investigations, techniques to view websites undetected, and safer alternatives to proxy servers. They will also gain an understanding of advanced Google search operators and how to utilize them to perform efficient and targeted searches. Evaluating websites and conducting people searches will be covered to gather information about suspects or individuals of interest.

Day 2: Participants will explore working with images and documents on the second day. They will explore tools for reading embedded information in files and images to detect alterations and extract additional data points for analysis. The course then shifts to social media platforms, focusing on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. Participants will learn how to navigate, monitor, and investigate these platforms, including techniques for geolocation data and user account analysis.

Day 3: The final day of the course covers Facebook, emerging social media apps, and additional platforms such as Reddit, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Participants will discover the latest search tools and privacy settings on Facebook, enabling them to search for individuals and groups within the vast user base. The course also addresses automation and monitoring of social media using RSS readers and other tools to manage investigative workloads efficiently. The course closes by introducing advanced techniques, guidance on continuing education, and computer clean-up best practices. Students will complete course evaluations.

By the end of the course, participants will have gained a solid foundation in OSINT, enabling them to gather information from online sources while maintaining operational security effectively. They will possess the necessary skills to conduct investigations, evaluate websites, perform people searches, work with images and documents, navigate social media platforms, and automate parts of the investigative process.

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Kirby Plessas, a seasoned professional with expertise in AI and OSINT.

Course Format: The course includes practical demonstrations and hands-on exercises. Participants are encouraged to engage in discussions and ask questions throughout the course. Students will receive relevant resources and materials for further reference that immediately apply to investigations.