Virtual Human Intelligence (HUMINT)

Open enrolment and in-house options available

Virtual HUMINT denotes the collection of information through one’s interaction with human sources on the internet. This course will give you the knowledge and skills needed to engage individuals and communities effectively. You will learn how to build and maintain a sock puppet, how to plan and manage your HUMINT engagements, how to apply different strategies for elicitation, and how to safeguard your identity. Most importantly, you will be taught how to leverage the information you collect in a way that does not compromise your sources.

Course Outline

Scoping and Engagement

Introduction to Virtual HUMINT

  • Definition, origins, and applications
  • Clandestine HUMINT vs virtual HUMINT
  • Key principles of virtual HUMINT
  • Types of virtual HUMINT sources
  • Finding virtual HUMINT sources
  • Challenges and limitations
  • Considering legal and ethical issues

Mastering the use of Sockpuppets

  • Sockpuppets – What are they?
  • Choosing the right kind of sockpuppet
  • Developing a life narrative
  • Working with fake identity generators
  • Generating suitable profile photos
  • Filling your profiles with content
  • Managing multiple online personas

Engaging with Online Communities

  • Types of online communities
  • Finding online communities
  • Understanding the target community
  • Learning the language and culture
  • Learning how to "blend in"
  • Documenting one's investigation
  • On journaling and note taking

Elicitation, Source Management and Security

The Art of Elicitation

  • The rules of effective elicitation
  • Key elicitation strategies
  • Asking good questions
  • The qualities of a good elicitor
  • Group elicitation
  • Benefits and risks
  • Legal and ethical considerations

Source Management

  • Managing your HUMINT sources
  • Disengaging and terminating contact

Online Privacy and Security for Virtual HUMINT

  • From basic to advanced security tools and principles
  • Protection of HUMINT sources

Course Details

Who is this Course For?

This course is primarily intended for professionals tasked with scoping, engaging and working with communities and individuals in digital environments (e.g. security and law enforcement professionals, investigative journalists, etc.).

How You Benefit

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

  • Understand the legal and ethical challenges associated with virtual HUMINT
  • Develop and manage online personas
  • Interact effectively with online communities
  • Apply a broad range of elicitation techniques to gather information
  • Protect your HUMINT sources
  • Protect your identity using advanced security techniques

What You Receive

  • A full set of course slides / user guides in PDF
  • Guidance on the identification and management of virtual HUMINT sources
  • Templates to construct your sockpuppets
  • An index of recommended elicitation strategies
  • Six months of post-course support

Course Prerequisites

We recommend that participants wishing to take this course first complete our Social Media Intelligence and Online Investigations courses.

Course Requirements

Please bring a Windows or Mac laptop and ensure you have full administrative rights to this device. Additional software requirements will be sent prior to the start of this course.