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: RevEddit.com, ReSavr.com, UDrc Extension and Archive.org
Most investigators can relate to finding content and not capturing it before it is deleted. Or maybe you’ve been tasked with finding deleted content from the start. If the content was on Reddit, you might be in luck. Back in 2018, Karrar Haider blogged a piece entitled, “How to Read Deleted Reddit Comments.” He discussed multiple third-party tools available for recovering deleted comments on Reddit. As is the way with the internet, a lot can change in three years. His first pick was ceddit.com, but it has not been available since December 2020. RevEddit is a newer search engine offering similar tools: It reveals reddit content removed by moderators., but it does not show user-deleted content. Alternatively, there is ReSavr.com, a tool which saves deleted Reddit comments over 1000 characters in length. Haider also introduced a Chrome extension, UDrC, which allows you to cache Reddit posts to view later even if they get deleted. If out of options, you can always try Wayback Machine on Archive.org, which will screenshot Reddit based on the volume of activity on the web link.
SEARCH ENGINE: socialcatfish.com
Social Catfish is both a people search site and an investigation service based out of Los Angeles, California. You can search for information on anyone, not just a potential catfish. Searches by name, email, phone, username, and image are available right from their homepage. If you are working a catfishing or online dating case, be sure to check out their Catfish 101, located within their site menu. Catfish 101 includes articles about common online dating sites for catfishing such as Ashley Madison, OkCupid, and Tinder. There are also recommended steps for someone to take if they are being catfished. These can be useful tips during your investigation and for providing recommendations for your client.
SEARCH ENGINE: social-searcher.com
Do you ever struggle to find your subject’s social media profile? Social Searcher is a free social media search engine that can help you do just that. Simply enter the individual’s name in the search box and Social Searcher will find multiple profiles from different social media platforms with that name. If you select a result, it will bring you straight to the individual’s profile. There is also a way to filter by network. In comparison to other free social media search engines such as Peek-you or Pipl, Social Searcher has many additional functions. For example, they have a social media monitoring tool that allows users to monitor all public mentions of a word or hashtag on various social media networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Reddit. Social Searcher will even notify you by email when your keyword is mentioned. This tool is free, but they do have a premium version which allows you, for example, to save your mention history and download your results.
Have an OSINT tip for us? Contact us, and we will consider reviewing it in future posts!
Like what you’re reading? Check out Hg’s monthly webinars!
Throughout the year, Hetherington Group offers monthly live webinars on current investigative tactics involving social networks, search engines, due diligence, the dark web, and other related topics. Participants should have some basic experience of the topic, as all programs are offered at an intermediate level, unless otherwise noted.