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 search engine resources useful in OSINT investigations.

SEARCH ENGINE: Peekyou.com

PeekYou is a website dedicated to people searches on the internet. Launched in stealth mode in 2006, it was relaunched to the public in 2009 and, according to Quantcast, is one of the top 500 sites in the United States. PeekYou draws data from a variety of online content, including social media platforms, news, homepages, and blogs. A bonus for investigating in here is the connection to domain names. Not all, but some, may pop up, which can be handy in an investigation. To remove yourself from the PeekYou, fill out the form, including your name and email address. Once you select the Submit button on the form, PeekYou will remove your information from its website.

SEARCH ENGINE: gramprofiles.com

Do you ever have difficulty locating a person’s profile through Instagram’s search bar? Next time try Gram Profiles, which allows you to search by name or username to locate the profile of your subject. It shows a reasonable size of the user’s avatar picture to determine which profile is theirs. In addition, if the user’s profile is public, Gram Profiles will provide statistics such as most liked or most commented photo, as well as top hashtags or top user mentions by that person. These statistics can help an investigator establish possible associations to that individual.



KnowEm was originally launched in 2008 as CheckUsernames.com. In 2009, KnowEm was formed with a team offering their services in social media brand protection. It is a Social Media Branding Search Engine that searches over 575 social media sites to locate and secure a brand. The Check Username option allows you to search for use of a brand, product, name, or username throughout social networks, as well as domain names and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database. This is useful if, for example, you have a client who is trying to establish a brand name, or alternatively, a client who has had their brand name stolen.

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

OSINT Training

Hg OSINT TRAINING OPPORTUNITY: Online Social Media Primer, 300 minutes 5 CEUs

LIVE Webinars: August 2 @ 2:00 pm – August 30 @ 3:00 pm EDT

How well are you incorporating social media into your cyber investigations? No worries—we all start somewhere! This online social media primer details the treasure trove of riches social media offers to an open source investigator. With just a few mouse clicks away, leads can be discovered, facts challenged, and game changing details can be unveiled—all in support of a case!

This introductory primer series will teach you why to use these platforms, how to crack them, where to look, what nuances and leads you need to chase down, and how they are all interrelated. We’ll also discuss how to capture content per service, so you can present it in your reports. Each webinar covers a single social media platform and its specific details. Platforms to be covered include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit.