Amazon calculates a product’s star ratings based on a machine learned model instead of a raw data average. The model takes into account factors including the age of a rating, whether the ratings are from verified purchasers, and factors that establish reviewer trustworthiness.
Intelligence analysts and investigators who use the powerful online search techniques taught by Michael Bazzell will welcome the just-released fourth edition of his book "Open Source Intelligence Techniques." But it’s not just for spooks and sleuths. A very broad spectrum of society can benefit from following this guide on how to extract open, often sensitive, information about others from the Internet through use of legal, many times unknown, databases, search tricks, and roundabout methods. No illegal breaking into accounts is advocated. Just knowing how and where to search is enough. Some, no doubt, will be alarmed at learning what’s “out there” about them. But others should find great benefit in learning how to find out the truth, good or bad, about the people, businesses and institutions that make up our world.
This is a rich update with nearly 40 pages devoted to extracting intelligence from the motherlode social network Facebook (1 Billion plus members and counting) in spite of roadblocks Facebook created when it changed its "Graph" search interface in late 2014. Bazzell has created a custom search tool that can be used free, by anyone, to conduct investigations on Facebook. And he has created Google custom search engines – also free -- for probing many other social resources including Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, dating sites, telephone number and address databases, and photo metadata. Maybe you would like to create your own Google custom search engine, tailored to the sites you want to explore? Bazzell shows you exactly how to do it (and it’s not difficult).
There’s a separate section devoted to Android "emulation." It explains how to make a laptop or desktop computer simulate a smartphone to conduct investigations with apps designed to operate only on mobile devices (e.g., Snapchat, Tinder, and Kik). He describes the impracticality of using smartphones with tiny screens and limited functions to conduct investigations that may need to be documented with screen captures, videos, and extensive notes.
A large section of the book describes free Windows “portable” programs that are appropriate for intelligence gathering. Also a portable edition of Firefox browser configured for online investigations. These can be downloaded to, and run from, a USB drive or digital memory card. [Investigators with Mac and Linux systems can run the Windows programs by using virtualization software]. Bazzell makes these programs and browser add-ons available to people enrolled in his online training program through his Inteltechniques.com website. However, readers of the book, if they want them, will need to assemble the materials on their own since the book only identifies the names and functions of the programs.
Bazzell draws on an 18-year police career in Illinois, where he was assigned to the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force, in revealing hundreds of practical techniques for extracting Internet intelligence about subjects who range from the lowest fraudsters and scoundrels to everyday honest individuals who are being checked for trusted jobs and personal or business relationships. Many will be surprised, others shocked, by the clear, candid explanations of how to legally crack telephone numbers and addresses; investigate websites, domains and IP addresses; identify and track individuals who hide behind aliases; geolocate people (determine their latitude/longitude coordinates) through their smartphone interaction with various social network sites (e.g. Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Flickr); use maps, street view images and satellite imagery in investigations; and conduct deep investigations of most anything that appears on the Internet. Of course, there’s more. There’s a good tutorial on basic search engine use (many people have no clue how to construct an effective search “query” and, therefore, don’t retrieve good answers). And there’s good coverage of the search engines themselves.The usual suspects – Google, Bing and Yahoo – are referenced throughout the book. But searchers in the future may want to also include the big Russian and Chinese search engines, Yandex and Baidu. One of Bazzell’s free custom search engines (on his website) searches all of these, plus 10 more simultaneously. He recommends using the Firefox browser.
This is a book that should be within arm’s reach of every investigator, particularly in the United States inasmuch as the Internet is heavy on US-centric resources. It represents a continuing 5-Star effort by Michael Bazzell.
I got this book out of curiosity, but quickly became ensnared in its clear style and started asking "what else could I find out?" It is well written, and makes me glad I don't sue services like Facebook!