CIT sent one of it’s employees to a conference that allowed them to act in matter many people “legally” don’t get to experience. The conference was held behind closed doors and no one in the room was allowed to identify themselves . . . attendees included FBI, C-Level, Engineers, Students, Police Force and more.
OSINT: SEEK, AND YE SHALL FIND
Recently, at a well-known university campus, in an unassuming lecture room, attended by a group of security-minded individuals, the set of tools & methodologies known as The OSINT Framework was presented for our consideration. Short for Open Source INTelligence, this body of knowledge would serve to give any Network / System Administrator, worth her or his salt, pause.
Much like the original Private Investigators (‘PIs’) of the 19th century, applied OSINT techniques are meant to be ‘quiet’; executed without alerting the target, be this an organization or individual. Practitioners of this methodology are commonly known as “Blue Team”.
Today, Blue Team’ers often will self-investigate, analyzing their own attack surface, and ferreting out holes to be plugged,in an effort to improve their own security posture. Examples of this include: remote access ports open in a firewall, a C-level social media account sharing an excess of sensitive company information, or an unpatched web-server sitting on the public internet just waiting for the newest zero-day exploit.
Operating silently, without detection by a target or other entity, is, as one might expect, highly desirable in this arena. Specific tool & software names aside, a basic description might be the following: an investigator’s host system detail is
obfuscated by the implementation of virtualization software, combined with virtual private network services, for the express purpose of altering the geographical location of the investigator’s source internet traffic.
On the other side of the coin, the “Red Team” might engage in active penetration of a target’s network. In general, actions of this type are, in a word, ‘noisy’. Examples of this include: dossier construction for the purpose of identity theft, or, more beningnly, ‘testing’ an organization’s network before a security-related sales pitch offers ‘protection’.
There are many sources of vital information on the web today, merely waiting to be plumbed & mined. Public records, personal information databases, social interactions; all are stored & archived. As compute / processing power continues its meteoric rise, the tools we use will only become more efficient; “With great power…”
This piece was intentionally written using vague context to protect those who author relevant source materials. However, enough information exists within this text for the intrepid & motivated investigator to locate this powerful toolset.
If you are interested in having your organization’s security posture reviewed, please contact us at Corporate Information Technologies.
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