Open Source Intelligence, or OSINT, is defined by the ability to collect data (or intelligence) from documented sources that are publicly accessible. The “open” aspect refers to the information being observable and not hidden from the international community. Basically, anyone with a computer can access this information or intelligence. People research this intelligence through different media such as television, newspapers, radio, and the Internet, to name a few.
Companies large and small now use open source intelligence to gather information about their competitors’ products, customers, and anything else related to their business. It is what is known as competitive intelligence or business intelligence. To get to the top and stay on top, companies need to prepare well-planned marketing tools to increase their recognition in the business world. OSINT is a great medium for businesses to use because it is legal. There are illicit methods of gathering intelligence about competitors’ dealings, but going down that path would look bad for your business.
The use of OSINT also helps to search for and locate possible signs of responsibilities and favorable circumstances in the business field. For marketing purposes, it is important to determine these signs of intelligence before they are noticed. That way, any company with specific marketing intelligence will be one step ahead of its competitors.
Reverse image lookup is a method defined by OSINT. Reverse image searches can be performed by searching for an image on the internet through a search engine, such as Google. Instead of searching for keywords, load the image in the search field. With this technology, one can find a certain product on the Internet and then determine where it was originally placed. That would lead the investigator back to the original manufacturer or company that created the product in question. OSINT used in this way allows you to eliminate the middleman.
OSINT also serves businesses in a positive way by giving them the ability to find websites that use identical AdSense or analytics accounts. On these websites, you can search for other competing companies by domain name, IP address, email address, or ID. With this service, you can find out which company or person owns the rights to certain companies, businesses, products, and domain names on the Internet and connect the dots. This can be especially useful when investigating a website that has hidden its registrant details, as a link could be made between the analytics and AdSense accounts connected to the website leading to a positive identification.