Organizing your OSINT Investigation Tools
This week as I prepared to take a class on OSINT, I began to think about the best ways to organize the astounding amount of tools and websites that exist for investigation. I often find myself feeling overwhelmed because there are so many options and methods. I thought maybe if I had my tools organized systematically I would feel better. I decided to ask the Twitter community for suggestions and they did not disappoint. Below are some of the best ideas I received as well as links to the pages/software. Hopefully, this will provide you with a starting point to organize your own links and tools!
Lists and Spreadsheets
Admittedly, spreadsheets are usually my go-to solution for keeping track of a multitude of links and tools because it is what I am familiar with and the software is readily available. OSINT Techniques suggested creating a list of tools within a spreadsheet or Word, based on the subject (usernames, phone numbers, etc.) as well as their usefulness. Below is an example of this method, which could be created in Excel, Google Docs, or a similar program. The downside to a spreadsheet is maintaining the list and removing dead links once it grows in size.
Personalized Mind Map
Twitter user @coolman7500 suggested the use of personalized mind maps to store tools in a similar fashion as the OSINT Framework. If you are not familiar with the OSINT Framework, it can be found here and it is an amazing resource in itself. The benefit of using a mind map is the ease of use in a visual format. A great tool for creating mind maps is Xmind which offers both a free and paid version. However, the free version has some inactive features and places a watermark over an exported file but should be fine for personal use. Another benefit of this method is that Mind Maps are shareable!
Another popular solution suggested was Pocket. Pocket is available for both Desktop and mobile in free and paid versions. The site allows you to save articles/links to a personalized list to read later. One downside is that the free version limits the number of articles you can save to your list. This site seems similar to using a Pinterest board to save tool links but Pinterest is free.
@RL_OSINT suggested using Start.me which is a personalized start page that can be run through an extension in Chrome. Many members of the OSINT community, like @technisette, have already created and shared their own pre-made pages. This seems like a great solution to have all of your links ready and available right on your desktop.
Web Links (Bookmarks)
Another method for keeping track of your tools is by simply bookmarking them in a web browser. Within Buscador or Kali open your browser and create a folder system within the bookmarks for each investigation scenario. If you have Buscador installed, you probably already have a ton of useful tools available without having to go searching through a massive list.
Tool organization is definitely a personal preference but I hope that I have offered some options that will help you decide what is right for you. Keep in mind, with whichever method you choose, the trick will be keeping up with dead links and defunct tools in the ever-changing OSINT landscape.