OSINT Blog / Post

June 19, 2024

Webinar Recap: Top Trends & Predictions for Open-Source Intelligence in 2023

As 2023 unfolds, open-source intelligence (OSINT) continues to advance at a rapid pace, with professionals across verticals working tirelessly to disrupt crime, fraud, and various threats. In a recent joint webinar, two industry experts, Rob Douglas, Co-Founder & CEO of Skopenow, and Mark Turnage, Co-Founder & CEO of DarkOwl, shared their forecasts for the future of OSINT and what practitioners need to know to stay ahead of the curve. They addressed emerging trends, as well as the latest tools and techniques designed to detect and mitigate risk.

Keep reading for some of the key trends and takeaways from the webinar, or click here to watch the on-demand recording.

Economic Uncertainty & Upticks in Crime

In times of economic turmoil, financial burdens heighten pressure to commit crimes, even among those who would not normally break the law. In the face of market uncertainty, OSINT professionals must diligently monitor and analyze potential risks associated with rising crime rates, including fraud, employee theft, and insider threats.

New Budget Constraints

Economic uncertainty can also lead to budget cuts for security and investigation teams. To maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of OSINT investigations when faced with new constraints, investigators should leverage automated, scalable open-source tools, adopt a proactive and collaborative approach, and invest in training and education for security and investigative personnel.

Data Breaches Remaining in Focus

The growth of data breaches and the availability of sensitive information on the dark web remains a pressing concern. Practicing robust cybersecurity hygiene and staying informed about data breaches is essential to protect data, identify potential risks and vulnerabilities, and allow security and investigation teams to take appropriate action.

Continuing Synthetic Identity Fraud

This increasingly common form of fraud involves combining real and fake personal information in order to create an entirely new identity. OSINT professionals must be adept at spotting inconsistencies and discrepancies in PII, and be familiar with the latest tools and techniques to detect and combat synthetic identity fraud. Collaboration and information sharing among OSINT professionals, law enforcement agencies, and financial institutions are critical to effectively tackle this growing threat.

AI/ML Taking Center Stage

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are playing a larger role in both crime and investigations. As AI becomes more advanced, criminals can create convincing deepfake images, videos, and texts. On the other side of the spectrum, AI/ML holds the potential to revolutionize OSINT through more advanced search algorithms, computer vision, sentiment analysis, and natural language processing. These innovations will enable OSINT professionals to quickly and accurately analyze textual and image data, identify trends, and uncover valuable information that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Ethical Concerns and Legal Challenges

The evolving legal landscape, privacy laws, and data protection regulations in different countries can significantly impact how OSINT professionals collect, process, and store data. Understanding the relevant laws and regulations when conducting OSINT investigations is essential, as failure to comply could result in costly penalties. OSINT practitioners must strike a balance between the need for information and respecting privacy rights. Staying informed about the latest changes in laws and regulations, participating in ongoing training, and developing a strong ethical foundation to guide their work is vital for addressing ethical concerns and navigating the complex legal landscape.

Upgrading to Dedicated Investigation Tools

Moving away from browser extensions and upgrading to professional OSINT tools is crucial for producing court-ready intelligence. These tools offer enhanced security, better data protection, and streamlined workflows tailored to investigators' needs, providing capabilities that browser extensions cannot match, such as advanced search filters, evidence preservation, and automated reporting.  By using automated solutions such as Skopenow and DarkOwl, OSINT practitioners minimize risks, improve the overall quality of their work, and ensure that their findings are reliable, accurate, and legally admissible.

Further Growth of OSINT

The US intelligence community has recently invested more resources into OSINT capabilities, recognizing its essential role in the intelligence-gathering process. There is also increasing interest in OSINT education, with more academic institutions and training programs focusing on open-source intelligence. Developing well-rounded OSINT practitioners who possess a strong understanding of this field's technical and ethical aspects is of utmost importance.

Staying up-to-date with the latest tools, techniques, and expert advice enables OSINT practitioners to harness the full potential of this essential intelligence discipline. Watch the webinar on-demand to hear from Rob and Mark about what’s on the horizon for open-source intelligence.

Want to learn more about how Skopenow can help you optimize OSINT in any due diligence, investigation, or research workflow? Our solutions empower organizations to more effectively and efficiently gather and analyze open-source information, identify trends and patterns in the data, and detect emerging threats and fraud. Start unlocking the power of open-source intelligence with a free trial today:www.skopenow.com/try.