Top positive review
Internet Sleuthing - OSINT For All
Reviewed in the United States on January 3, 2020
This is the latest, greatest book for law enforcement, intelligence, and private sector investigators tasked with digging into the internet 24/7 for information on the world's bad guys. The researchers use very clever techniques and search "tools" for this work -- methods and tools once considered pretty much a "secret." They aren't secret any longer. Michael Bazzell, in his expanded seventh book on OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), continues to make these methods available to all. Each edition has made deeper revelations. As a follower since 2013, I've found them to be endlessly fascinating and invaluable for investigative work.
Anybody can use the methods in this book and will benefit from learning to do basic (or advanced) sleuthing on the internet when necessary (or even just to satisfy curiosity). Clever, careful, innovative, and persistent searchers will, naturally, receive the most useful return for their effort.
Bazzell, a former 18-year police investigator assigned to the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force, reveals very explicit tricks and techniques for unearthing information about people's backgrounds, associations, reputations, activities, and representations (or misrepresentations) -- potentially pointing up serious character flaws, deceptions, and, sometimes, criminal histories. Many searchers also use these methods to check on everyday business, service and social connections. At the most basic level, no one comes into my home to provide services until I've done some OSINT on them. With access to a jurisdiction where court records are freely available online, I've passed up using medical professionals who had court records that show alcohol-related traffic cases, multiple moving violations, restraining orders, domestic problems, financial entanglements, and, of course, malpractice lawsuits. There have been a few. Fortunately they're in the minority... but why take a chance? I want my doctors to have as few outside problems or issues as possible. The ones I've passed up never knew I didn't make an appointment. Needless to say, one must use discretion in making these kinds of decisions. They're certainly not limited to evaluating medical people.
Researchers may look for positive as well as negative information. They will search themselves (sometimes called "ego" searching) to find out what kind of picture they're presenting to the digital world. Privacy-conscious people will identify, and minimize where possible, personal or organizational vulnerabilities that are exposed on the internet. These may involve themselves, their families, friends, or businesses. [Michael Bazzell explores privacy threats, physical and digital security, and threat reduction in several other books specifically covering those topics and also hosts a weekly privacy and security podcast].
Readers will discover many additional reasons to use OSINT. A really popular activity is locating old friends and family and conducting genealogical searches (as opposed to stalking).
Bazzell gives links to a collection of OSINT "tools" which readers can download to streamline their searches. This new edition shows readers how to make simple modifications to the tools enabling users to add (or subtract) their own favorite resources. I just added TikTok searches to my "username" tools (TikTok investigations are explained on Pages 389-90 in the book). The tools allow broad, rapid searching of real names, phone numbers, email addresses, images, videos, maps, documents, public records, domain names, IP addresses, usernames, and social network activity including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They are a huge time saver and may seem a bit magical -- just my humble opinion -- the first time you use them.
As the saying goes, "knowledge is power." Bazzell has gone all out with this edition -- as usual. This is an exciting book that will give readers the power to gain critical insight into good and bad people, entities, and the world around them. I recommend it highly.