Our weekly hack for those in the field doing the work & digging up critical intel.

The ability to uncover information on the internet is the primary skill of an online investigator. There are hundreds of thousands of surface, deep, and dark websites, but which are most pertinent to your unique case? Do you know how to utilize Google to its full potential?  With new social media platforms coming online at a rapid pace, capturing leads and evidence in social media networks is more complex than ever. Do you know the latest tools of the trade?

Hg’s OSINT Tips of the week provides you with the latest intel how to be most effective in our tradecraft. We are always looking for new tools, so don’t hesitate to let us know if you  have one you’d like reviewed in a future post!


This week, we provide a list of useful political resources.

POLITICAL: fec.gov

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the “independent regulatory agency charged with administering and enforcing the federal campaign finance law. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, Senate, Presidency and the Vice Presidency.” Need to locate names within a company? Download the Federal Election Commission’s Disclosure Database and sort by company name. If members of your target organization donate $1,000 or more to the Federal Election Campaign, their names and home addresses will be there.

POLITICAL: politwoops.com

Social media can often make or break a campaign for a politician. It is not only important for politicians to be cautious about what they post during their campaign, but also what they have posted on social media in the past. Maybe it was a differing opinion than what they are currently campaigning or something inappropriate. Investigators and journalists alike dive deep into a political candidate’s social media accounts looking for these discrepancies…but what if the posts they are hoping to find have been deleted? Politiwoops tracks deleted tweets of public officials. It includes current people in office as well as candidates running for office. The tool is a product of ProPublica, originally published by The Sunlight Foundation. According to their Website, content is updated regularly.

POLITICAL: followthemoney.org

Historically, the “nonpartisan, nonprofit” National Institute on Money in Politics (NIMP) promoted an “accountable democracy by compiling comprehensive campaign-donor, lobbyist, and other information from government disclosure agencies nationwide and making it freely available at FollowTheMoney.org.” Recently announced, NIMP and the Center for Responsive Politics (CPR) are joining forces to become OpenSecrets. Follow the Money has been an archival website of political-campaign donations. The website provides data on to whom money was donated and from whom the money came. Under the website’s “Ask Anything” title, you can search on Contributions From or Contributions To—using a variety of parameters (contributor name, industry, location, etc.) Or, build your own specific query.

Have an OSINT tip for us? Contact us, and we will consider reviewing it in future posts! 

OSINT Training

Hg OSINT TRAINING OPPORTUNITY:  Open Source Intelligence—Start to Finish, an OSMOSIS Primer Webinar Series, 360 minutes, 6 CEUs

Designed as an online investigation’s primer, this series provides the basics of open source intelligence gathering to those entering the field. With three days of content, the field investigator will complete the 360 minutes of training with the tools needed to conduct open source intelligence investigations.

What to Expect:

Learn the types, differences, and jargon of open source investigations; learn how to in-take an online case, understand the parameters of the work, establish goals, and create investigative notes C.Y.A. (Cover Your Analysts!); learn best practices on how to use a computer and the resources available on the Internet and social media; understand when to use the Surface, Deep, or Dark Web to locate your information; understand documentation procedures for creating sharp and understandable reports; and learn the fundamentals of conducting online investigations ethically.