OSINT Tear-Lines

OSINT Tear-Lines

A new study by pCloud has labelled Instagram as the most invasive mobile application, followed by Instagram’s parent company Facebook. Leaky apps and the information potentially available from such apps are not new and they provide opportunities and threats for commercial entities, hackers, law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The pCloud study, reported by The Independent, emerged in part due to the Apple Store applying labels to every app in a bid to increase transparency and allow users to decide whether to install an app once they know what their data may be used for. Online footprint management is a vital part of OSINT tradecraft that can be learnt on Janes OSINT courses.


Scroll down for this month’s OSINT-related content from Janes:

 

Janes Online OSINT Masterclass

Want to learn the Janes OSINT Tradecraft? Now you can do this at your own leisure, from the comfort of your home, by enrolling into the Janes Online OSINT Training Masterclass. 

 

Doubts emerge over NYT report on cyber operations against Russia

A 7 March article in The New York Times claiming that the United States is planning a “covert cyberstrike” on Russia has underscored the challenges of formulating and reporting on cyber strategy, Janes Intelligence Review reports. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

Criminals turn to art theft for revenue

Art crime is often perceived to be a ‘white-collar’ or even ‘victimless’ crime, despite criminal and terrorist groups’ involvement. In this report, Janes’ examines the issues around art crime and the challenges that it poses to law enforcement. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

Colombia seeks wider use of UAVs in anti-drugs operations 

According to several media reports – including Reuters on 4 January and the Financial Times on 20 February – the cultivation of coca, the raw ingredient of cocaine, remains high in Colombia. This is despite ongoing ‘manual’ eradication efforts and a slight reduction in hectarage. The Colombian government’s approach has also included the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to fumigate drug crops. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

Podcast: Beyond Tradecraft: Factors Affecting Open Source Intelligence

Most OSINT training focuses on tradecraft, and rightfully so. Less common is the inclusion of other factors that impact the analyst’s ability to deliver effective OSINT products. In this conversation, Kyle McGroarty of Janes Intelligence Unit is joined by Cynthia Hetherington, Founder and President of the Hetherington Group. They discuss Cynthia’s experience of open source research, from physical archives as a librarian, to managing research, and providing security investigations to a wide range of customers. Listen Now

 

Janes SCANNER

Interested in social media intelligence? Check out our monthly subscription product Scanner, which provides operational analysis of extremist online tradecraft and operating environments. Scanner uses the SOCMINT expertise of Janes Intelligence Unit to provide insights on adversary and platform intelligence, as well as tips and techniques to help enhance the skills of online investigators. Click here to access an excerpt of a recent Scanner report.

March 2021

OSINT Tear-Lines

A new study by pCloud has labelled Instagram as the most invasive mobile application, followed by Instagram’s parent company Facebook. Leaky apps and the information potentially available from such apps are not new and they provide opportunities and threats for commercial entities, hackers, law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The pCloud study, reported by The Independent, emerged in part due to the Apple Store applying labels to every app in a bid to increase transparency and allow users to decide whether to install an app once they know what their data may be used for. Online footprint management is a vital part of OSINT tradecraft that can be learnt on Janes OSINT courses.


Scroll down for this month’s OSINT-related content from Janes:

Janes Online OSINT Masterclass

Want to learn the Janes OSINT Tradecraft? Now you can do this at your own leisure, from the comfort of your home, by enrolling into the Janes Online OSINT Training Masterclass. 

Doubts emerge over NYT report on cyber operations against Russia

A 7 March article in The New York Times claiming that the United States is planning a “covert cyberstrike” on Russia has underscored the challenges of formulating and reporting on cyber strategy, Janes Intelligence Review reports. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

Criminals turn to art theft for revenue

Art crime is often perceived to be a ‘white-collar’ or even ‘victimless’ crime, despite criminal and terrorist groups’ involvement. In this report, Janes’ examines the issues around art crime and the challenges that it poses to law enforcement. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

Colombia seeks wider use of UAVs in anti-drugs operations 

According to several media reports – including Reuters on 4 January and the Financial Times on 20 February – the cultivation of coca, the raw ingredient of cocaine, remains high in Colombia. This is despite ongoing ‘manual’ eradication efforts and a slight reduction in hectarage. The Colombian government’s approach has also included the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to fumigate drug crops. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

Podcast: Beyond Tradecraft: Factors Affecting Open Source Intelligence

Most OSINT training focuses on tradecraft, and rightfully so. Less common is the inclusion of other factors that impact the analyst’s ability to deliver effective OSINT products. In this conversation, Kyle McGroarty of Janes Intelligence Unit is joined by Cynthia Hetherington, Founder and President of the Hetherington Group. They discuss Cynthia’s experience of open source research, from physical archives as a librarian, to managing research, and providing security investigations to a wide range of customers. Listen Now

Janes SCANNER

Interested in social media intelligence? Check out our monthly subscription product Scanner, which provides operational analysis of extremist online tradecraft and operating environments. Scanner uses the SOCMINT expertise of Janes Intelligence Unit to provide insights on adversary and platform intelligence, as well as tips and techniques to help enhance the skills of online investigators. Click here to access an excerpt of a recent Scanner report.

February 2021

On 18 February, Facebook made the decision to prevent news sites from posting content within the social media platform in Australia. Facebook stated that this was in response to a proposed law which would potentially mean that online platforms would have to pay media outlets for content. This decision has also meant that users in Australia are unable to view or share news through Facebook and has had the knock-on effect of stopping state health departments from posting on the platform. The ability to reach a large audience is particularly important as the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is initiated. Increasing numbers of people source their news and information from platforms such as Facebook. A news article by The Guardian detailing this can be found here. This highlights the dependence of organisations on social media as a vehicle to push important information, as well as the general overreliance of individuals obtaining new information from mainstream social media platforms. Janes can teach you how to find and verify sources of information without the need to rely on reports within social media. 

 

Scroll down for this month’s OSINT-related content from Janes:

Janes Online OSINT Masterclass

Want to learn the Janes OSINT Tradecraft? Now you can do this at your own leisure, from the comfort of your home, by enrolling into the Janes Online OSINT Training Masterclass. 

China influences social media with nationalistic narratives

China uses social media as part of its ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy, seeking to present itself as a ‘benevolent’ global leader while drawing attention to perceived weaknesses in rival countries. In this report, an investigation by Janes Intelligence Unit identifies a Chinese influence operation on Twitter. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

Foiled plot illustrates risks from online radicalisation in Singapore

Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) announced on 27 January that a 16-year-old male suspect had been detained under the Internal Security Act for allegedly planning to attack two mosques on the anniversary of the 15 March 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks. The ISD statement said that the suspect, a Protestant Christian of Indian ethnicity, was arrested in December 2020 and was the “first detainee to have been inspired by far-right extremist ideology” in Singapore. According to the investigation, the suspect had self-radicalised online and was not associated with a specific far-right group. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

UK’s intelligence agencies remain guarded around social media use

Compared with its Five Eyes’ allies, the UK’s intelligence agencies have a sparse social media presence. Janes examines the agencies’ use of social media and scope for expansion. In May 2016, the UK’s signals intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), joined Twitter and became the first of the UK’s intelligence agencies to engage on social media. GCHQ announced its presence with the simple message ‘Hello, world’, which is also the first program learnt when starting to code. Within hours, the agency had thousands of followers and widespread attention in a move both welcomed and mocked. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

Podcast: The Future of Online Investigations with Bellingcat Founder Eliot Higgins

In this episode of the Janes podcast, Eliot Higgins and Terry Pattar explore the world of online investigations and the future of conflict research with Bellingcat.  Listen Now

Reports suggest North Korean intelligence agency targeted security researchers

Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) on 25 January revealed a campaign targeting security researchers in a report that detailed the use of social engineering and custom malware. According to TAG, the group behind the campaign maintained a blog on vulnerability research and operated multiple accounts on social media purporting to be security researchers. The group used the fake accounts to contact security researchers with questions or offers of collaboration. If the targets agreed, they were directed towards the blog or asked to download a file related to the proposed project. The blog appears to have used a previously unidentified (zero-day) exploit in the Chrome browser to compromise the target’s system, while the file contained malicious code. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

Janes SCANNER

Interested in social media intelligence? Check out our monthly subscription product Scanner, which provides operational analysis of extremist online tradecraft and operating environments. Scanner uses the SOCMINT expertise of Janes Intelligence Unit to provide insights on adversary and platform intelligence, as well as tips and techniques to help enhance the skills of online investigators. Click here to access an excerpt of a recent Scanner report

January 2021

 

The burgeoning interest in open-source intelligence (OSINT) has seen a discipline primarily associated with intelligence agencies become mainstreamed to the point where news agencies increasingly use OSINT techniques as part of their story generation. At the heart of this mainstreaming has been Bellingcat, a news outlet focusing on online investigations. In December, Bellingcat published a report on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The report underlined the ongoing value of OSINT to investigative journalism, but reactions to it highlighted the added benefits such reports carry for intelligence agencies. According to this Foreign Policy report, open-source work by outfits like Bellingcat enable intelligence professionals to more easily discuss national security matters with lawmakers or liaison partners by referencing open-source reporting, without having to expose classified information in the process. The mainstreaming of OSINT looks set to continue in 2021, as more organisations begin to see the value of structured online research.

 
Scroll down for this month’s OSINT-related content from Janes. 

 

The proliferation of OSINT in the 2010s has enabled professionals and amateurs to exploit a wealth of freely available information that can provide a picture of global events. It has also required governments to pay more attention to their own official social media accounts. In this report, Janes examines global armed forces’ social media presence as a response to and tool for OSINT analysts. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

North Korea’s unveiling of the largest road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), known as ‘Hwaseong-16’, at a parade in October 2020 demonstrated that its ICBM programme remains active. In this report, Janes examines the strategic context around the unveiling and the technical specifications of the system, providing 3D modelling of the system. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

Links to archived versions of a violent neo-Nazi online forum were published by an eponymous channel on Telegram in November, which included propaganda created by members of prominent extreme-right groups such as Atomwaffen Division (AWD). Janes continued to identify posts by members of the extreme-right community for greater online security precautions by like-minded individuals, notably moving off mainstream social media platforms. Continued attempts by groups to forge links across continents underlined the transnational ideologies and strategies of many extremists in this milieu. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

In this episode of the Janes podcast we talk to Dr. Nilda Garcia, who researches serious organised crime with a focus on Mexico. We discuss the online dimension of Mexico’s drug war and how actors involved in the conflict have used social media to further their objectives. Click here to learn more about how Janes can support you and your organisation with social media research. Listen Now

Check out a sample of our monthly subscription product Scanner. This provides operational analysis of extremist and terrorist online tradecraft and operating environments. This particular example looks at non-state armed group activity on social media. Scanner enables its recipients to understand, monitor and investigate threat actors more efficiently and gain advantages over adversaries in the online operational space.
 
Interested in learning more? For more information on how Janes can help you understand the online environments of adversaries, e-mail Janes Intelligence Unit here: [email protected].

 

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