OSINT Tear-Lines

OSINT Tear-Lines June.2021

In a landmark case involving the English Premier League, a Singaporean teenager has pleaded guilty to harassment and threatening behaviour online. The teenager, Derek Ng De Ren threatened to kill Neal Maupay’s family as well as numerous other threatening taunts via anonymous accounts. This is the first time that an individual outside the UK has been arrested for offensive behaviour towards a footballer in the British leagues. Generally, it can be difficult to police behaviour if the online abuse occurred abroad and out of the jurisdiction of UK police forces. At the same time, the Football Association and others are backing the Online Safety Bill which would make it easier for individuals to be prosecuted in order to tackle harmful content online. Currently, the majority of online abuse, although extremely harmful, is classified as legal but harmful. The fact that Derek Ng De Ren attempted to obfuscate his true identity through the use of anonymous accounts highlights the online tradecraft that some adversaries can use to evade detection. Understanding adversary online tradecraft is a key feature of Janes products like Scanner, which produces analysis of the social media environment. 


Scroll down to learn more about Scanner and OSINT-related news 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. 

 

MPA Summary: Textual analysis of ‘The Newbie’s guide to the ONA’

‘The Newbie’s Guide To The ONA’ is a seven-page document, written in US English and published on an unspecified date (referred to in the text as “124 yfayen”) in the version analysed by Janes Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC) online. It was authored by a member of the group identified only by the pseudonym “Kryptonymus”. The text comprises an introduction and the following sub-sections: “Freedom”, “Flavours”, “Texts”, “Ethos”, “Nexions”, and “Closing Remarks”. Despite its title and apparent function of providing a concise overview of the group’s agenda and outlook, the text contains references to numerous esoteric terms and concepts.  Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.


OSINT tracking enables analysis of Iranian satellite

On 23 April 2020, astronomer Jonathan McDowell identified the Qased rocket as deploying a 6U CubeSat after analysing video of the launch provided online by Iranian Military Achievement Media (IMA Media) at https://imadl.ir. In the video, a close-up of the Qased clearly showed an image of a 6U CubeSat painted on the side. Moreover, the image showed the CubeSat to be “scanning” the Earth – Saudi Arabia and Israel were highlighted – as if to show that it was gathering either imagery or intelligence data.  Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

EU drafts tighter regulation of online disinformation

Attempting to address advertising models that reward disinformation, the European Union is revising its policy on social media, online platforms, and other digital entities. A new European Commission (EC) draft guidance policy (COM 2021/262), unveiled on 26 May, aims to widen the scope and reporting obligations of the union’s 2018 self-regulatory Code of Practice on Disinformation, and is set for legislative approval by autumn 2021 and enactment in early 2022. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

Conflict with Israel strengthens position of Hamas in Palestinian politics

The May 2021 conflict in Gaza is likely to have increased support for Hamas in the West Bank at the expense of Fatah, given a perception of Fatah’s inaction over unrest in Jerusalem. The protests and strikes held by Arab Israelis in mixed Israeli cities are likely to have long-lasting implications for Arab-Jewish relations within Israel. A senior Fatah leader told Janes on 20 May that many Palestinians in Jerusalem felt that Hamas best represented Palestinian resistance given the muted Palestinian Authority response to the evictions in Jerusalem. Farhat Assad – a prominent Hamas leader in the West Bank – held a similar view and told Janes on 19 May that “when there was no substantial and compelling response from the Palestinian Authority regarding the issue of Sheikh Jarrah, Hamas was forced to respond to the call of the people of Jerusalem”.  Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

Podcast: Understanding structures of radicalisation

In this episode of the Janes podcast we talk to Tim Clancy, the founder and CEO of Dialectic Simulations Consulting and a researcher focused on reducing violence and instability. In particular we discuss Tim's model for understanding violent radicalisation and how this can be applied in practice.  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.

May 2021

OSINT Tear-Lines May.2021

Have you ever given away too much information when browsing online? Perhaps you may have signed up to web-based applications that you do not use? Each time we sign up to something online, we give away details about our lives. Many required data fields may seem innocuous, but in the wrong hands following a data breach, the accumulation of this information could assist in tracking you across the Internet or stealing your identity. A good example of this is the recent data breach suffered by Peloton, which took a questionable amount of time to divulge. Most social media users are now more privacy minded, but there appears to be naivety when signing up for services such as gaming, fitness trackers or even just accessing public WiFi. The solution is low tech and simple. Just because information is stated as being “required”, does not mean that it must be provided. Thinking carefully about this will reduce your vulnerability to future data breaches. Topics like this and more techniques to reduce your online footprint are covered in Janes open-source intelligence (OSINT) training.


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. 

US military chiefs call for wider declassification of intelligence

A report in Politico claimed that nine four-star US military chiefs – constituting all but two of the four-star combatant commanders – had sent an unclassified memo to then acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire in January 2020 seeking help in “the information war against Russia and China”. The authors argued for greater acceptance and use of OSINT as a “foundation” within the classified model, and for security threats to no longer be viewed as discrete topics. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

Italian crime groups seek to profit from Covid-19 pandemic

The Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate – Italy’s multi-force investigation body under the Department of Public Security of the Ministry of the Interior – published its first report for the year 2020 on 24 February 2021. The report covered organised crime groups’ (OCGs’) activities in the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy, specifically the period from March until September 2020. Many mafia groups and OCGs in Italy were affected by a contraction of some of their business activities during the lockdown periods. Money-laundering schemes, reinvestment of ‘dirty’ capital in public contracts, and attempts to influence the work of public bodies were among the activities that data showed either did not slow down or actually increased during the reporting period. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

States advance on agreeing international cyber norms

As Western states increasingly shed their inhibitions about attributing adversary intelligence activity in cyberspace, the scale of inter-state cyber competition will become ever more evident. Janes examines how progress at the UN on establishing international cyber norms may affect intelligence agencies’ operations. The United States sanctioned several Russian entities for their involvement in the SolarWinds hack, a cyber-espionage operation that it attributed to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. Washington denounced the attack on the supply chain and the undue burden on the private sector and invoked Russia’s past behaviour as an argument for strongly responding to the cyber operation. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

German security agency focuses on Querdenker movement

Germany’s domestic security agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, confirmed that it was monitoring the activities of the far-right-linked anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown movement Querdenker (‘Lateral Thinker’). Querdenker is a diverse, online-enabled, and increasingly radical conspiracy theory movement with suspected links to other international extremist movements such as QAnon, and the Reichsbürger and Selbstverwalter movements in Germany. It has a particular recruitment focus on children and teenagers and is mainly active on Telegram and YouTube.  Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

Podcast: Applying analytic tradecraft to OSINT

In this episode of the Janes podcast Terry Pattar and Kathryn Haahr-Escolano discuss analytic standards, OSINT and the Intelligence Community Directive 203. Kathryn Haahr-Escolano has worked in the US Intelligence Community, and is a practitioner of the ODNI/AIS Analytic Tradecraft standards and their application to the craft of intelligence analysis and the OSINT lifecycle for government, academic, and international clients.  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.

April 2021

OSINT Tear-Lines 

Do you accept connection requests from individuals that you do not know? This is a very basic yet effective way in which individuals are approached on platforms such as LinkedIn. It has long been known that hostile states will approach individuals of interest in this manner, which can result in the inadvertent sharing of classified or sensitive information. A BBC report has stated that in the last five years, at least 10,000 UK nationals have been approached in this way. While this does not only apply to LinkedIn, the profiles and information provided on the platform provide rich pickings for criminal entities and hostile intelligence services. Basic operational and personal security awareness is often forgotten in the pursuit of potentially impressing a “recruiter”, which can be significantly damaging. Janes open-source intelligence (OSINT) training covers social media, as well as delving into the world of counterintelligence, giving learners a greater understanding of threats that persist as well as how to mitigate them. In this instance, the answer is simply to only accept legitimate requests from individuals that you know. 

 

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. 

 

Australian neo-Nazi group outlines objectives and strategy

A new Australian extreme-right-wing (XRW) group called the European Australian Movement (EAM) outlined its strategy in March. It aims to carve out “white-only” spaces in urban and rural areas in Australia, as a means of creating a “white Australia”. EAM is coordinating its activities with other XRW groups in Australia, and there are indications that US-based XRW groups have influenced EAM's activism. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

Russian troop build-up sparks concern in Ukraine 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on 1 April that Russia had begun to build up troops on Ukraine’s border with Russia. Russian troop deployments were confirmed by social media posts and local news reports and later by Russian officials. Russian government spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on 6 April that the movements were “not threatening anyone”. In response, NATO, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other Western allies provided statements of support for Ukraine’s security. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

Myanmar's junta deploy Chinese-made CH-3A tactical UAVs to observe protest movements 

Images circulated on social media in March suggest that the Tatmadaw has begun to employ its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) assets to monitor protest activities in central Myanmar, with at least two types of UAVs documented flying at altitudes low enough to be “seen and heard” by residents in the city of Mandalay. For non-subscriber, CLICK HERE.

 

China silences military open-source commentators 

Numerous Chinese social media accounts covering military matters were suspended by the authorities in mid-March, signalling the latest in a periodic series of crackdowns forcing increasing reliance on Chinese official sources. Non-official Chinese sources nevertheless remain available to OSINT analysts, although analysts will need to act increasingly quickly to track and catalogue unapproved disclosures, and reduced information online means that new military systems may enter service without prior knowledge from open sources. Already a subscriber? Click here to read the full article.

 

JANES PODCAST: Non-Traditional or New-Traditional Threats

This episode of the Janes podcast defines and explores examples of non-traditional threats and looks at how national security can effectively react to these non-traditional threats. 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].

 

Threat Intelligence

Case studies

Want to know more?

Request a free consultation to find out how in a world of fake news and ever growing conflict, Janes can provide you with unbiased, verified open-source intelligence.

 

 

Request Consultation

Request a free consultation to discover how Janes can provide you with assured, interconnected open-source intelligence.

OSINT Tear-Lines Janes | latest news and analysis on Russian military and security affairs - Reporting on Russian military equipment, technology and security policy