As society has evolved, technology has as well, and there is a growing awareness that already-established police techniques -- if used exclusively -- are somewhat out-of-date and oftentimes quite expensive for what they offer. When departments sink valuable resources into maintaining old systems instead of investing into newer, more efficient, and cost-effective technologies -- especially in an era of budget cuts where law enforcement agencies are forced to make difficult decisions as to where to cut funding -- these agencies are missing out on a valuable source of information. One only needs to look at history to witness the evolution of criminal investigations. Fingerprinting, DNA analysis, and computer information systems such as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) and NDIS (National DNA Index System) have improved investigatory efforts considerably; however, as technology continues to evolve -- and criminals are openly taking advantage of this new technology -- law enforcement agencies may be missing out on a valuable opportunity if they don't embrace more openly the tremendous benefits such new technology brings. The United States spends more than $100 billion annually on law enforcement and incarceration, and this figure does not even consider other economic impacts of crime in terms of victims' costs, property devaluation, and higher outlays for companies to ensure their security.
There are two methods of data collection and information gathering used in military observation. Covert gathering refers to the use of clandestine, or secret data sources. As a result, covert methods are often illegal due to being performed secretively. Overt data collection refers to methods used openly or in plain sight. Overt does not involve the use of secretive methods and is generally not illegal.
In developed nations, there is a rich trove of data that the intelligence community can and does mine. Valuable information can be pulled from media reports, public financial information and social media posts. Websites track user activity, and smartphones are constantly gobbling up information about their users, from geolocations to search histories and more. By using artificial intelligence tools, analysts are able to make sense of this torrent of publicly available data and turn it into usable open-source intelligence, known as OSINT. But not every part of the world produces that vast torrent of data.
Apply Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) techniques, methods, and tools to acquire information from publicly available online sources to support your intelligence analysis. Use the harvested data in different scenarios such as financial, crime, and terrorism investigations as well as performing business competition analysis and acquiring intelligence about individuals and other entities. This book will also improve your skills to acquire information online from both the regular Internet as well as the hidden web through its two sub-layers: the deep web and the dark web. The author includes many OSINT resources that can be used by intelligence agencies as well as by enterprises to monitor trends on a global level, identify risks, and gather competitor intelligence so more effective decisions can be made. You will discover techniques, methods, and tools that are equally used by hackers and penetration testers to gather intelligence about a specific target online.
This is a follow-up/continuation to Part One of the series, where I recommend reading to help provide some background into why we should all consider reviewing our OPSEC (Operational Security), not just those with something to hide. Have you actually thought about how much you are tracked on a daily basis? Think about everything you post on social media, what you search, the apps that are generating metadata (with or without your consent), what your phone knows about you. Not forgetting your "voice assistants," there is a worrying amount of data we generate every day that builds an impressive digital footprint. All this data is incredibly valuable to an adversary, whether this be an advertiser trying to sell you better, cheaper, faster services through abusing privacy and online tracking or an attacker who's trying to steal your identity or gain unauthorised access to your systems.