Entering the world of OSINT

Last Friday marked the end of my second week as the newest member of the analyst team at Neotas. We use open-source intelligence (OSINT) to give businesses peace of mind about prospective investments and hires by going far beyond standard due diligence checks.

As a Physics graduate, fresh out of university, the jump into open-source intelligence was not immediately an obvious one. Before joining Neotas I, like most people, had little awareness of the concept of using OSINT in the business world. People do not realise the vast quantity of information that the internet holds about every person who interacts with it. However, with just a small step into the world of OSINT, it becomes very quickly apparent that the internet can be harnessed into a powerful and useful tool that can build up a detailed profile of a person or company.

Online information is broken down into two parts, active and passive. Active information is what we choose to put online about ourselves. Personal blogs, programming forums, gaming forums and social media such as Twitter and Facebook are all examples that fall into this category. Passive information is any data we did not put there ourselves, this ranges from birth certificates to mentions in newspaper articles.

Having all this information out there is all well and good, but the key becomes turning this into intelligence. This is where Neotas stands above all others.

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind tour of open-source intelligence methodology and techniques refined by a Neotas team made up of some of the top minds in cyber security, fraud prevention and intelligence gathering. ‘Googling’ may give you an outline, but Neotas analysts go far beyond into the deep & dark web to give you more detail, putting together all the pieces of the puzzle to build a complete cyber profile of your potential investment or hire.

In this age of increasing regulations and compliance, it is easy to see the waves that Neotas is making. In just my second week, I was given the chance to help represent Neotas at the recent Innovate Finance Global Summit. It was clear to me that Neotas stand out from the crowd of emerging FinTech and RegTech businesses by keeping the analyst at the centre of the process. With our advanced use of OSINT supported by our analyst driven platform nobody can do what we do as well as we do. The business world is changing, and I am truly excited to be a part of a company that is leading the charge.

By Alex Penn

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