What is Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)?
Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is the practice of collecting information from published or publicly available sources for intelligence purposes. The term ‘Open Source’ within OSINT refers to the public nature of the analyzed data; publicly available information includes blogs, forums, social media sites, traditional media (TV, radio, and publications), research papers, government records, and academic journals. The scope of this information is almost infinite, concerning various people, companies, and organizations. Individuals who leverage OSINT can span from IT security professionals and state-sanctioned intelligence operatives with ethical intentions to malicious hackers with unethical intentions.
The History of OSINT
The history of OSINT dates back to the emergence of intelligence to support a government’s decisions and actions. However, it was not used in a systematic way until the United States established the Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service (FBMS) in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1947 it was renamed the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (FBIS) under the newly established CIA. In 2005, following the 9/11 attacks and the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, FBIS – with other research elements – was transformed into the Director of National Intelligence’s Open Source Center (OSC). Since its establishment, the OSINT effort has been responsible for filtering, transcribing, translating/interpreting, and archiving news items and information from many foreign media sources.
Importance in Industry
OSINT is essential for many fields, such as law enforcement, risk and fraud management, human resources, cybersecurity, and