Have you ever find yourself obsessively searching for lists of the best OSINT tools, or tools that claim to be able to find everything? Do you believe that a well-curated set of tools will make you the best OSINT researcher possible?
I also used too. And it’s worst approach you can come up with.
If you’re familiar with OSINT and its nuances, you likely know that the OSINT community offers an extensive set of tools for various situations. It’s tempting to try and create a perfect collection of tools that can solve all your investigative needs.
One of the main issues within the OSINT community is the abundance of similar software that performs identical functions, but with only minor differences. For instance, when it comes to Instagram OSINT tools, there are many options available, but they all operate within the area of the limited Instagram API.
Long story short, an API (Application Programming Interface) is a method for a programmer’s code to communicate with various applications or services, including popular social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and others. When developing a program that requires specific information, such as the number of subscribers for a particular Instagram account, the program will utilize the official Instagram API. However, it’s important to note that API functionality is limited to what the developers have provided, and there’s no way to access exclusive insights. Any data that can be accessed through the user interface is also available via an API request.
Given that APIs do not provide access to internal information, it follows that Instagram OSINT tools, and other similar tools, are equally unable to provide more than what is already available through the API. This limitation applies across all services and tools, as they are all reliant on the same API.
The main message here is that spending countless hours trying to curate the perfect set of tools for your investigation is not worthwhile, as the available tools are generally equivalent and do not offer any significant advantage over one another.
But what’s really matters when we are talking about investigations? What the key factor of the successful research?
In my opinion, being an OSINT researcher is one of the most challenging jobs in the IT field, second only to cybersecurity. This is due to the fact that each case is highly unique, and there is no general template for how to approach it. However, the good news is that the complexity of each case also provides a wide range of solutions and strategies for resolving it.
A crucial aspect to keep in mind is that the number of potential solutions available to each investigator varies. The ability to see multiple solutions is a valuable skill that can be acquired through expanding one’s knowledge and experiences. Broadening one’s horizons and gaining exposure to new ideas and approaches can help develop this skill and allow an investigator to consider a broader range of solutions to a given problem.
Therefore, the most powerful tool an investigator can utilize in solving an investigation is their own brain. While tools may become outdated or obsolete over time, the knowledge and experience gained through honing one’s analytical and critical thinking skills will always be applicable.
In my career as an OSINT researcher, I encountered a challenging case where there was very little information available, and no tools could assist me. There was no established template for how to approach such a situation, but with some brainstorming and critical thinking, I was able to solve the issue. This serves as a reminder that the power of the human mind and creative problem-solving skills can be a valuable asset in any investigation.
So, if intelligence and brain is your main weapon, what the best way to enhance and upgrade this weapon?
The answer is simple: expand your horizons. You can achieve this by reading books, whether it’s fiction or scientific, watching good movies, or trying new activities you have never done before. These experiences can provide new perspectives, challenge your thinking, and help you develop creative problem-solving skills. The key is to remain open-minded and curious, seeking out diverse experiences and constantly learning new things to keep your mind sharp and adaptable.
As previously mentioned, there are many solutions to every case, ranging in complexity and difficulty. Some cases can be solved in two simple steps, while others require nine complex steps. The more you are exposed to different solutions, the easier it will be to solve cases. Books can broaden your perspective and provide you with new ways of thinking. When others may only see three difficult solutions, you may see ten easy solutions and five difficult ones. By expanding your horizons, you can become a more effective investigator.
Summing up, OSINT is not about tools — it’s about your brain.
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