Google Dorks for OSINT Investigations
Dorking is a technique that uses advanced search operators within Google Search and other search engines to find information. Primarily used to locate security holes in the configuration and computer code within websites, Dorks can also provide investigators with opportunities to enhance intelligence gathering during OSINT investigations.
Advanced search operators are special commands within search engines that modify searches by adding parameters to narrow searches and drill deeper into results.
We’ve outlined 14 advanced search operators that can be useful to investigators to refine search results, which include:
- “search term” = exact phrase, i.e. "Skopenow streamlines your due diligence and claims process"
Quotation marks enable users to force an exact match for required words or phrases. The exact match operator can be used to refine results to ensure that a specific phrase is included in the results or to exclude synonyms when searching for single words. Searching for an exact phrase during an investigation can locate material written by a specific person or business.
- OR or | = either search term or search term, i.e. Ed OR Edward or Ed|Edward|Edwin
The OR operator enables searching for multiple words as alternatives to one another, locating either X or Y or both. The pipe (|) operator functions identically to “OR”. Investigators can utilize the OR operator when only a nickname is known for a subject, enabling different variations of the same name to be searched at once.
- + or AND = search term and search term, i.e. Steve Adams AND Skopenow
The AND operator enables searching for results that must include two different words phrases, searching for both X and Y. Results will only include results that include both search phrases. The plus (+) operator can also be used in place of “AND”. AND can be useful for investigators when searching for information on a person, ensuring results relate to them by including their employer’s name.
- - = Not search term, i.e. Skopenow -www.skopenow.com
The minus operator enables users to exclude a word or phrase from search results. When results are extensive, removing irrelevant words that feature prominently in numerous results is particularly useful when looking to reduce results.
- site: = Only on this site, i.e. “Skopenow” site:twitter.com
The site operator enables users to restrict results to only those from a specific website. When investigating a business, the site operator can ensure results come specifically from their official website.
- filetype: = Only this type of file, i.e. OSINT filetype:pdf OR filetype:docx
The filetype operator enables search results to be restricted to those that are a specific file type, removing other file types and standard web pages. filetype: can provide benefit during an investigation when searching for contracts and whitepapers in PDF or Word documents.
- intitle: = Only show results where text is in title of site, i.e. intitle:final.attendee.list "Fraud"
The intitle operator enables users to find web pages with a certain word or phrase in the title. Investigators can use the intitle operator to find relevant web pages and articles containing a relevant keyword.
- inurl: = Only show results where text is in the web address of a website, i.e. inurl:resume “john smith”
The inurl operator enables users to find web pages with a certain word or phrase in the web address. Investigators can use the inurl operator to find relevant web pages containing a keyword in the web address.
- intext: = Only show results where text is in the main body of the text of a website, i.e. Skopenow intext:OSINT
The intext operator enables users to find web pages with a certain word or phrase in the main text of the web page. Investigators can use the intext operator to locate results where a keyword within the body of a web page will limit results, such as a year or location name.
- allintext: = locate all words in a web page, i.e. allintext: skopenow insurance fraud
The allintext operator enables users to find web pages that contain a list of keywords in the main text of the web page but not necessarily next to one another. Investigators can use the allintext operator when more than one keyword is necessary as an anchor within the body of a webpage to find results, such as multiple keywords or names related to a crime.
- cache: = Only show cached links, i.e. cache:skopenow.com
The cache operator enables users to return the most recently cached version of a webpage when the web page has been indexed. Investigators can use the cache operator to locate previous versions of edited or deleted web pages to locate removed intelligence.
- * = wildcard, i.e. "robdouglas*com"
The asterisk operator represents a wildcard within search strings, taking the place of words or phrases between two keywords. Investigators can use the asterisk operator to find email addresses by replacing the domain name with the wildcard character.
- map: = map a specific location, i.e. map: Manhattan
The map operator enables users to force Google to show map results for a locational search. The results show only location-specific data and do not include recent news stories. Investigators can use the map operator to focus on geospatial relevant intelligence.
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