OSINT: Foundations

Open enrolment and in-house options available

This three-day course lays the foundations for effective open source research and investigations. You will learn how to identify and manage your information needs and to translate these into a rigorous collection plan. From there you will be shown how to automate the collection of intelligence from web and social media sources, thus allowing more time for reading and reflection. You will also be shown how to employ a broad range of search strategies to find the information you need, and how to organise this information to support analysis, pattern detection and insight generation. Finally, you will be given guidance on how to improve your security posture, protect your privacy and manage your digital footprint.

Course Outline

Requirements Planning

Introduction to OSINT

  • The varieties of OSINT (online, offline, etc.)
  • The benefits and limitations of OSINT
  • Strategic and operational dimensions of OSINT
  • The Lean Intelligence Methodology
  • Legal and ethical constraints

Managing Requirements

  • Working with intelligence customers
  • Identifying collection requirements
  • The Key Intelligence Topics (KITs) process
  • Collection planning: tools and frameworks
  • Establishing a keyword index

Prepping Your Browser

  • Configuring your privacy settings
  • Configuring your search settings
  • Essential OSINT tools and extensions
  • OSINT tools management

Monitoring Web and Social Media Sources

Automating OSINT Collection Working with RSS feeds

  • Working with data aggregators
  • Generating data from news sources
  • Generating data from the blogosphere
  • Generating data from social media platforms
  • Generating data from academic resources
  • Generating data from foreign language sources
  • Expanding your source base: best practices
  • Feed management: tips and best practices
  • Indexing and sharing your OSINT sources

Searching the Web / Online Security

Searching the Web

  • Contemporary search challenges
  • Foundational search strategies
  • Recommended search engines
  • Working with search operators
  • Constructing complex search queries
  • Enhancing productivity through search extensions
  • Working with foreign language content
  • Automating search queries

Effective Data Management and Exploitation

  • Data management tools and techniques
  • Analysis through data collation and synthesis
  • The pre-analysis checklist

Privacy and Security for OSINT Practitioners

  • Understanding the threat landscape
  • Managing your digital footprint
  • Choosing the appropriate level of security

Privacy and Security Tools

  • Securing your user accounts
  • Secure searching and browsing
  • Working with privacy-enhancing search engines
  • Working with VPNs
  • Working with password managers
  • Antivirus and antimalware protection

Course Details

Who is this Course For?

This course is intended for anyone engaged in open source research, including journalists, investigators and OSINT practitioners wishing to consolidate their skills before taking on more challenging courses.

How You Benefit

On completion of this course, you will have the ability to:

  • Identify and manage your intelligence needs
  • Use the Lean Intelligence methodology to enhance your performance at work
  • Automate the collection of data using a custom monitoring solution
  • Improve the quality, accuracy and relevance of your search results
  • Organise data to support effective collection and analysis
  • Manage your digital footprint for improved privacy and security
  • Practice OSINT legally and ethically

What You Receive

  • A full set of course slides and user guides
  • Templates to support requirements planning and data collation
  • Tip sheets and cheat sheets
  • An index of recommended OSINT tools as bookmarks
  • Recommended readings to support further study
  • Six months of post-course support

Course Prerequisites

No prior knowledge of open source research or open source intelligence is needed to take this course. We recommend this course as an essential starting point for all our research skills courses

Course Requirements

Please bring a Windows or Mac laptop (tablets are not recommended for this course). You should install Google’s Chrome browser and set up a Google account to facilitate the use of different tools. You will be required to install a range of browser extensions, so it is important that you have administrative rights to your laptop.