To investigate open data on the Internet, you don’t have to have super-technical knowledge at all.
Previously, such investigations were only available to large corporations. Now, small businesses and anyone with the Internet in general can enjoy the benefits of open data.
Companies use open data to make important decisions, gain a competitive edge and ensure security. Open data is cheaper to collect and investigate, it is available – only the Internet and a computer are needed, and most tools can be used for free. Such data is easy to disseminate: it is open and everyone will have access to it immediately. In addition, OSINT speeds up the search and enables real-time research.
In this material we give a few simple examples of how OSINT can be used in your work. It is possible that you are already actively using some of the things described below, and that you will find something interesting to use and encourage new ones.
Human Resources (HR)
Eichars use OSINT when searching for candidates, checking them, and when they are already working. With the development of social networks, this becomes easier.
Application: Search for employees through Telegram(TG)
1. Resume search in open groups. If you enter
2. Search by profession among profiles. Some users write to bio their profession/position, country, city, and some even attach a resume and portfolio. Most likely, they do it for a reason. Probably for job offers as well.
You can search for potential candidates at the same
Now you can add a city to the search string and try to find a specialist from the desired region. We get 9 results.
We managed to find most of the people from the issue by name in LinkedIn. And then you think, why don’t we go straight to LinkedIn? But the thing is that if programmers are often registered on this resource, then, for example, marketing experts are not always, especially from Russian-speaking countries. And having data from TG, you can search for more information about a person in search engines and social networks. Let’s look at an example.
Here, found the designer.
We go into his profile at TG. From there, we find out how old he is, his name, and what he (presumably) looks like.
Now we want to know his additional contacts and in general what kind of person is in front of us. It has long been known that people often use the same username on different resources. And that’s good for us. You can use this Google dork to search for Vitaliy on other platforms and social networks:
Vitaliy inurl:<username> site:instagram.com | twitter.com | facebook.com | ticktock.com | linkedin.com
At the very beginning of the request, you can add keywords that the candidate uses in his profile. This can be not only the name, but also the company where he or she works, age, place of residence, etc. Usually the username comes from a link, so we use the dorc “inurl” to find out if this nickname is found on other sites.
There are two different surnames on Twitter and Instagram. It’s hard to understand on Twitter, if it’s Vitaliy, but in Instagram he is quite similar to different designers in his subscriptions.
Besides Google, there are resources –
Application: Facebook for monitoring, who from employees and what writes about the company
To track the spread of confidential information or negative feedback about the company from your employees, you can do the following.
To do this, you’ll need to sign in to Facebook and have your employees in a friend. So, enter your company name into the search box, click on “posts” and filter by published only by your friends.
Not only what your employees have posted on their page, but also the mention of the brand in posts and comments, where your employee somehow noted, as well as in links to which he somehow reacted.
And then you can filter by time: for example, check every month.
By the way, there are recruiting companies that specialize in OSINT. For example, the British
Lawyers don’t just work with legislation. It happens that the answer to a client or manager’s question is simply not among the laws and cases. Then the lawyer turns into an OSINT researcher, because his job is to find the answer to the question.
For example, open data helps verify the counterparty, avoid legal violations or find the right evidence for a lawsuit. And the reverse of the legal framework can be attributed to a search on open data. For example, when OSINT tools are used
Consider a few steps to help you get a more detailed picture of the company.
1) Looking for official company data. If you initially do not know the name of the legal entity or TIN (for example, from the contract), you can search the site – sometimes it is in the footer.
Sometimes in contact.
You can also try to enter the names in Latin transliteration (if the name is in English) in
2. When you have an official company name, TIN or address, you can search for more details at this
– about the branches.
– data on group members – companies in different countries and regions that belong to the organization under study.
– company investments.
– property information – for example, real estate and land.
– leased facilities.
– about the company’s debtors (and therefore its clients and partners).
– about debts.
– on the main sources of revenue.
– and sources of expenditure. You can find information on both charity contributions and fines.
– the banks where the company has accounts.
3. the previous resource can only study the current report for the previous year. Some archived data on finances for 2012-2018 can be viewed
4. now you can find out if the company has debts that are collected through court. This information can be found among
5. Whether the company’s current account is blocked can be checked
– The company did not pay taxes or contributions and did not respond to tax requirements.
– No declaration or reporting has been submitted in due time. If within 10 days the company has not submitted it, the tax office may block the account.
– As a result of the audit, the tax office charged a fine. If the company does not have any property that can enforce the decision, the tax office may block the account.
Application: Intellectual Property Search
Protect your copyrights and do not infringe anyone else’s.
1. Search for copies of your works. OSINT will help you find those who use your creation without bothering at all. Original text, photo, video, melody, etc. For example, this is how it works with pictures.
Let’s try to search for one of them in Yandex search engine (he is better than Google looking for similar images). That’s what he gives us. There are so many copies.
Some brands simply copied a picture with an interesting idea to themselves in social networks, without changing anything.
And some even put their signature on the bottom of the spirits.
The very idea of pictures of this kind copied even more companies. But it’s not about copyright anymore.
2. Don’t infringe others’ copyrights. Maybe it’s the other way around – you want to use a picture or video yourself and you doubt how legal it is. There are simple solutions for this. In Google Images you can filter images by type of license.
And the extension
What can be learned through trademarks.
1. Whichever name for your company, brand or product you can register. Open trademark registries can help you check if there are similar or similar names somewhere. And if so, in which country they are registered, for which products and services, or if they have expired. All this can be checked in international databases, such as
2. Addditional information about your counterparty. A trademark search will tell you which company owns it and then which other brands it owns. Many registries allow you to search both by picture (logo) and by name.
Here, for example, we will find the company Oracle in the British database. We search by “keyword phrase, or image”. Here we see that it is officially called “Oracle International Corporation” and the trademark “Oracle” is registered for 7 classes of services and goods. And it is not only software, but also printed materials, educational services in the field of computers and software, etc.
When we have the name of the company that owns the trademark, you can search the registries “by owner”. Now let’s try to look in the U.S. database which trademarks Oracle owns in the U.S.. Go to
And we get 50 trademarks registered by this company in the United States. They also have a sports park!
In this field, a specialist uses OSINT tools to determine if it’s easy to hurt a company. Vulnerabilities can be searched for by company as a whole and by individuals. Devices connected to the Internet, documents that are in the public domain, personal data are checked. All this is done in order to at least minimize the risk of cyber attacks.
Application: check information leaks from electronic boards and mind-map
Electronic whiteboards can be found on the Internet and intruders can use them. So it is a good idea to check if someone has shared the whiteboard with the insider information in an open group in Telegram or on their FB page. Let’s take the Miro boards as an example. This is how the whiteboard URL structure looks like: miro.com/app/board/.
And so, we try to search on different platforms.
Conclude the URL in quotes, remember to exclude the site miro.com.
And of course the search can be narrowed down to the right resources. In particular, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, VK, Medium, Habr, Trello.
1) Use already familiar search engine
In the example: Looking for posts with a link to the whiteboard and mentioning the company.
We search in “posts” section.
Marketing and PR
In the sales and advertising environment OSINT is used for market analysis and consumer opinions, competitor monitoring. For example, using open data, you can find customer testimonials on a website or in a social media profile; automate competitor monitoring; and find a suitable platform for promotion and advertising.
Google dork “related” in the general output shows us related resources, and in “pictures” – mainly pages associated with the name of the site. Therefore, this dork can be useful for two purposes.
1. Search for unobvious competitors.
The secret is that usually this dorc is positioned as a search for similar pages, when you are looking for something as a consumer. This allows us to find out which resources algorithms think meet the same need as your company.
And so, we enter a link in the search engine to the site of your organization or one of your competitors. We get a good output.
But sometimes, when asked about some Google sites, he says he doesn’t know anything. In this case, you can dig into “pictures”, and there is a chance to come across some unexpected competitor. You can narrow it down to specific social networks and platforms by adding, for example, “site:facebook.com” to the search string.
2. Search for brand references. Both your company and competitors.
There will be a search only by “pictures”. For this purpose, the following dorc will be suitable: -site:. Here you can also try to filter by different platforms and social networks.
It should be noted that other dorky can be used for this purpose:.
info:<company site/company name> –
inurl: intext: -link: -site:
However, the issue is different. Sometimes very, sometimes not very.
Application: Find Sites Where-Can-Place Native Advertising
To shorten your time and not to reinvent the bike, you can explore where sponsorship articles on your topic have already been published. If you are counting on a Russian-speaking audience, the following Google dorks: will be suitable for your search.
“niche/sphere” intext: “partner”
“niche/sphere” intext: “partner” inurl:promo
“niche/sphere” intext: “partner material”
“niche/sphere” intext: special project inurl:special
“niche/sphere” intext: “material prepared with support”
If it’s in English, these:
“niche” intext: “paid post”
“niche” intext: “sponsored by”
“niche” intext: “sponsor content” inurl:sponsored
“niche” intext: “sponsored”
“niche” intext: “sponsored content”
“niche” intext: “sponsored post” inurl: “sponsored-post”
The different combinations of these dorcas can produce different results. So, experiment.
The OSINT-like techniques and tools are actively used by companies that use open sources to help brands promote their services and products more effectively. Here are just a few of them:
These companies analyze social networks, forums, blogs, videos, reviews, search queries and provide companies with the opportunity to find out what is being said about them in the society or to study their clients in more detail – what they need, what they are interested in, what they watch, read, where they go.
All these are just small examples, proving that OSINT is already actively used in many companies, and basic knowledge will be useful not only for technical specialists.