For the Greater Good: OSINT on the Rise

The Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) market has grown significantly in recent years and is anticipated to grow over the forecast period 2018-2023, according to a recent study by Crystal Market Research. OSINT’s interoperability across various markets allows clients from all over the world to apply it flexibly. It has been predominantly used in human intelligence and the network analysis market for some time, and now people are beginning to witness its full potential. The use of publicly accessible data can increase investigative capabilities across relevant areas and to help overcome real-world issues, such as preventing crime, defence from cyber-attacks and even helping to uncover instances of human trafficking and modern slavery. Its recent rise has not gone unnoticed by the intelligence community.

Attendees of the annual DEFCON security conference, attended by Neotas, competed in the first OSINT non-profit Capture the Flag (CTF), challenging people to trace real missing people through publicly available information. The final goal was to provide additional information for authorities to help track down the missing individuals. This is a great example of OSINT for the greater good!


Most noticeably, people within online communities are beginning to use OSINT without knowing it. A user on Reddit shared a photo of a car part that had fallen off a vehicle after a fatal hit-and-run in Washington earlier this month. By sharing it on the social news site, other users were quickly able to identify the black piece of metal as a section of a “Chevy Silverado headlamp bezel”. In turn, police eventually made an arrest with the help of the Reddit community.

OSINT being leveraged in more ‘real-world’ scenarios, even unwittingly, is a prime indicator and example of its growth and potential growth globally. Use cases, once few and far between, are now hitting our screens more regularly and highlighting the benefits of OSINT.

Neotas’ proprietary platform leverages OSINT and experienced analysts to uncover digital trails, mitigate risks, enhance due diligence and evidence compliance processes. We are always seeking new ways to connect the dots and we thrive off uncovering hard-to-find information.


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