Open-source intelligence (OSINT) for Business Risk Assessment
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.
Starting with Open-source Intelligence (OSINT) for business risk assessment can provide valuable insights into potential risks and opportunities. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started with Open-source intelligence (OSINT) for Business Risk Assessment :
- Understand Business Objectives: Clearly define the goals of your business risk assessment. Are you looking to assess market trends, competitor activities, supply chain vulnerabilities, or other specific risks? Understanding your objectives will guide your OSINT efforts.
- Identify Data Sources: Determine the types of information you need to gather and where you can find them. OSINT sources include social media, news articles, blogs, forums, government websites, industry reports, company websites, and more.
- Select Tools: There are various tools that can help streamline your OSINT efforts. Consider using web scraping tools (like BeautifulSoup or Scrapy), social media monitoring tools (such as Hootsuite or Mention), and search engines (Google, Bing) for targeted searches.
- Build Search Queries: Craft specific search queries to narrow down relevant information. Use keywords related to your business, industry, competitors, and risk factors. Experiment with different combinations of keywords and operators to refine your search results.
- Monitor News and Social Media: Regularly monitor news outlets, social media platforms, and industry-specific forums to stay updated on relevant events and discussions. Tools like Google Alerts can help you receive email notifications for specific keywords.
- Analyze Competitor Activities: Study your competitors’ online presence, press releases, social media accounts, and any public information available. This can provide insights into their strategies, product launches, partnerships, and potential vulnerabilities.
- Evaluate Market Trends: Analyze industry reports, market research, and expert analyses to understand current and projected market trends. This information can help you identify potential risks and opportunities.
- Assess Regulatory Landscape: Explore government websites and regulatory databases to gather information about compliance requirements, industry regulations, and potential legal risks that could affect your business.
- Map Supply Chain: If supply chain risks are a concern, gather information about your suppliers, their financial stability, geographical locations, and any past issues they might have faced.
- Social Media Analysis: Analyze social media sentiments and discussions related to your business, brand, and industry. Tools like sentiment analysis can help gauge public perception and potential reputation risks.
- Evaluate Cybersecurity Threats: Research potential cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities that your business might face. Look for any data breaches, hacking incidents, or security advisories related to your industry.
- Collaborate with Experts: Consider collaborating with OSINT experts or consultants who have experience in business risk assessment. They can provide guidance on effective strategies and tools to use.
- Stay Ethical and Legal: While collecting OSINT, ensure that you respect privacy and adhere to ethical guidelines. Be aware of any legal restrictions related to data collection and use.
- Analyze and Interpret Data: Gathered data can be overwhelming. Organize and analyze the information to identify trends, patterns, and potential risks. Cross-reference multiple sources to verify information.
- Create Actionable Insights: Transform your analysis into actionable insights. Prepare reports or presentations that highlight identified risks, opportunities, and suggested strategies for mitigating risks.
- Stay Updated: OSINT is an ongoing process. Regularly update your research and analysis to stay ahead of changing risks and market dynamics.
Neotas’ Innovative Approach: The Fusion of Art and Science:
Neotas’ leadership in OSINT techniques is a harmonious blend of innovation, ethics, and client-centricity:
- Advanced Technologies: Neotas employs cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to amplify the effectiveness of OSINT techniques. These technologies streamline data processing, enabling rapid pattern recognition and trend analysis.
- Ethical Considerations: Amidst growing data privacy concerns, Neotas stands as a paragon of ethical OSINT practices. The company places a premium on responsible data collection, adhering to legal and ethical boundaries to ensure respect for privacy.
- Tailored Solutions: Neotas’ OSINT techniques are not one-size-fits-all. By collaborating closely with clients, Neotas designs bespoke solutions that align with specific industry needs and objectives. This ensures that OSINT insights are not only relevant but also actionable.
OSINT techniques have revolutionized the way organizations glean insights from the digital realm. Neotas’ innovative approach and commitment to excellence have elevated OSINT from a mere data collection process to a holistic art and science. As the digital landscape evolves, Neotas remains at the forefront of OSINT techniques, continuously refining and redefining the boundaries of what is possible.
By Alex Penn