By Cynthia Hetherington

New Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) tools pop up all the time. Keeping up with them is becoming a job in itself. Every research resource needs a regular review: Is it still offering up the best information for professional needs?

At Hg, we believe our effectiveness lies in continuing education. We keep up with new trends, new data security breaches, and new investigative tools and methodologies—and we share that knowledge with others. We do so in a variety of ways.

Hg’s newsletter includes Industry Undercover, where we discuss, in brief bits, newly discovered websites. We also review new OSINT tools on our blog. And, last but not least, we offer webinars and seminars to investigators, security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies.

In this 3-part blog series, we highlight some of our favorite websites as well as some new sites that hit the Internet in the last year. Last week, we tackled Twitter, Reddit, and Snapchat and provided a Reddit tip on locating deleted content. This week we review Instagram search tools and review several OSINT tools to help monitor a client’s brand.

Instagram Master List

Instagram still has many users and fans—and more can be done with this resource than simply locating other Instagram sites. The Swiss consultancy, i-intelligence, has published the indispensable, The Open Source Intelligence Tools and Resources Handbook 2018, by Aleksandra Bielska, et al. With more than 300 pages, this OSINT resource guide covers every tool and resource imaginable.

When it comes to Instagram, pages 37 & 38 offer a good list of social media tools for Instagram.

Here is a tiny sampling:

In addition to the Handbook’s list, pay attention to the website It’s an independent viewer of Instagram photos and videos. Search by hashtag, user name, or keyword to locate accounts and posted content. It’s an excellent resource for finding local content fast.

Helpful Tip: Finding OSINT resource lists

Search for OSINT in any new OSINT tools. Such a search will produce the @i_intelligence online PDF and the OSINT Framework website produced by @jnordine. Follow these two on Twitter. Both organizations provide solid OSINT tools and collaboration, as well as excellent networking opportunities. OSINT members correspond and communicate openly—or try to impress with personal master lists—which offers up thousands of cutting edge, topical web links. OSINT resources come and go with the wind; this is an excellent way to stay current.

Another useful website for investigators is the dating app and hook-up site created by Emmanuelle Welch (@frenchpi on Twitter).

Tagboard, Talkwalker, & Boardreader

If the focus of a search is on following a brand, client, or topic, use the website Tagboard. Searches are based on hashtags and search across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr, and other social media websites. Simply enter a hashtag or keyword and search results are returned by the topic, brand, or event.

Talkwalker is a good tool to use for following a brand or a conversation, however, a log-in is necessary to see the most recent seven days of posts for free. Talkwalker analytical tools are excellent, and even short bursts of information can be collated quickly here.

Boardreader monitors the off-the-range message boards and has done so for years. Enter a search term and find a plethora of content on it: Brand failure messages, angry customer posts, conspiracy theorists, and the occasional hacker meeting announcement.

Are you an analyst or investigator looking for advanced training on unique social search tools? If so, check out Hg’s recorded webinar, Utilizing Social Media and Other Search Resources. This class expands your general knowledge of social media platforms and search engines, allowing you to create thorough reports for your clients.


With over twenty-five years of global experience in open source investigations and one of the first investigative firms to conduct online social media investigations, Hetherington Group develops advanced cyber investigations unique to your needs. Learn how Hg’s analysts conduct Cyber Investigations to clear through jargon and uncover answers buried deep in open sources, social media pages, and Dark Web sites.


Cynthia Hetherington, MLS, MSM, CFE, CII is the founder and president of Hetherington Group, a consulting, publishing, and training firm that leads in due diligence, corporate intelligence, and cyber investigations by keeping pace with the latest security threats and assessments. She has authored three books on how to conduct investigations, is the publisher of the newsletter, Data2know: Internet and Online Intelligence, and annually trains thousands of investigators, security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies on best practices in the public and private sectors.