by and for citizen investigative journalists

News:

December 8, 2016

By Jett Goldsmith

How Relevant to Syria is Syria’s Regime?

On October 31, 2016, the Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Şafak reported that Turkey and Russia signed a “landmark agreement” in northern Syria, ostensibly partitioning portions of the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Raqqa, Al-Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor to a Turkish-backed assembly of “local elements” and FSA-aligned brigades. This report is unconfirmed by independent sources –…

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December 1, 2016

By Cameron Colquhoun

Inghimasi – The Secret ISIS Tactic Designed for the Digital Age

ISIS have successfully adopted a little known Al-Qa’eda / Al-Nusra tactic known as Inghimasi. In a switch from the suicide bombing terrorism of the 2000’s, Inghimasiyun deliberately aim to stay alive, killing their enemies with firearms before having the option to detonate their vests when overwhelmed Evidence the tactic has been exported to North Africa…

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December 1, 2016

By Christiaan Triebert

Update: Bombed Water Desalination Plant in Al-Mocha, Yemen

Earlier this year, we examined attacks on Yemen’s water infrastructure by several parties to the conflict. An attack in January 2016 on the water desalination plant (Wikimapia) north of Al-Mocha was central to that open source survey. Earlier this month, new reports emerged that the water desalination plant was targeted once again by alleged airstrikes by…

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November 30, 2016

By Cody Roche

Assad Regime Militias and Shi’ite Jihadis in the Syrian Civil War

The following collaboratively written article is the result of months of research in a joint project by Vincent Hayek and Cody Roche. Please save or open images in a new tab to see full details. Infographic displaying the most visible domestic Assad regime militias in the Syrian Civil War, click the graphic to see it in full…

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November 30, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

Russia’s Chemical Weapon Attack Investigation in Syria

Throughout the conflict in Syria different sides in the conflict have traded accusations of chemical weapon use, with the OPCW/UN stating that both ISIS and the Syrian government have used chemical weapons, mustard gas and chlorine gas respectively. With Russia joining the conflict there has been a renewed interest in the Russian media and among…

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November 29, 2016

By christophkoettl

Dissecting a US Airstrike in Syria

Amid the grey dust and twisted metal, the young girl discovered beneath the rubble of a destroyed building in Kafr Deryan, a small town 40km west of Aleppo, is barely visible. If you look closely enough, for a split second you can see her ponytail and hair tie before they disappear beneath the debris once more.

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November 16, 2016

By Mr. Woods

Lost Boys – Child Combatants of the Syrian Civil War

Much has been written on the use of child soldiers by the self declared “Islamic State”. With the offensive against Mosul beginning in earnest, eyes again are on the group and its use of children on the battlefield. With focus here perspective is often lost on the fact that other groups such as the Syrian…

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November 15, 2016

By Askai707

Russia’s 61st Separate Naval Infantry Brigade in the Donbass

The following investigation was originally posted in Russian by the author, Askai707, on his LiveJournal blog. Translation and foreword by Aric Toler. The following investigation from Askai707 provides a significant amount of evidence that proves the direct participation of Russia’s 61st Separate Naval Infantry Brigade (often referred to as just the “61st Naval Infantry Brigade”…

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November 9, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

Fact-Checking Russia’s Claim that It Didn’t Bomb Another Hospital in Syria

In late September and early October 2016 reports of Russian and Syrian airstrikes hitting Al-Sakhour hospital, also known at the M10 hospital, in eastern Aleppo [map link] began appearing online. This included reports from local news agencies posted on social media, reports from the Syrian American Medical Society, and videos showing what was claimed to…

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December 6, 2016

By Justin Seitz

Vacuuming Image Metadata from the Wayback Machine

This article was originally posted at the AutomatingOSINT.com blog. Not long ago I was intrigued by the Oct282011.com Internet mystery (if you haven’t heard of it check out this podcast). Friends of the Hunchly mailing list and myself embarked on a brief journey to see if we could root out any additional clues or, of…

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November 30, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

There’s No Such Thing as a Good Fake – When Publicity Stunts Go Wrong

The work of open source investigators frequently involves using content shared on social media. The reliability of those sources is something that is always under question, not only by the investigators themselves, but also by those who would try to discredit that type of content as being unreliable. A good open source investigation would not…

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November 12, 2016

By Justin Seitz

Dark Web OSINT Part Four: Using Scikit-Learn to Find Hidden Service Clones

This article was originally posted on the AutomatingOSINT.com blog. Welcome back to the fourth and final instalment in this series. If you haven’t read part one, two or three definitely feel free to go and do so. This will be much shorter than the others The original inspiration for this post was from a @krypti3a blog…

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September 5, 2016

By Aric Toler

How to Uncover Corruption Using Open Source Research

When most people think about open source research, they think about uncovering social media materials of soldiers on the front-lines of the wars in Ukraine and Syria, or geolocating video footage of significant events with Google Earth. While open source materials have led a mini-revolution in how conflicts are reported online, there is another area where there…

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September 1, 2016

By Justin Seitz

Dark Web OSINT With Python Part Three: Visualization

This article was originally published on the AutomatingOSINT.com blog. Welcome back! In this series of blog posts we are wrapping the awesome OnionScan tool and then analyzing the data that falls out of it. If you haven’t read parts one and two in this series then you should go do that first. In this post we…

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August 11, 2016

By Justin Seitz

Dark Web OSINT with Python Part Two: SSH Keys and Shodan

This entry was originally posted on the AutomatingOSINT.com blog. Welcome back good Python soldiers. In Part One of this series we created a wrapper around OnionScan, a fantastic tool created by Sarah Jamie Lewis (@sarajamielewis). If you haven’t read Part One then go do so now. Now that you have a bunch of data (or you…

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July 28, 2016

By Justin Seitz

Dark Web OSINT With Python and OnionScan: Part One

You may have heard of this awesome tool called OnionScan that is used to scan hidden services in the dark web looking for potential data leaks. Recently the project released some cool visualizations and a high level description of what their scanning results looked like. What they didn’t provide is how to actually go about…

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July 14, 2016

By Cameron Colquhoun

A Brief History of Open Source Intelligence

“Even a regimented press will again and again betray their nation’s interests to a painstaking observer”. William Donovan (OSS Director) “Today you are the media, it is your duty to report and keep the hope alive! You are the media, we are one!” Mir Hossein Mousavi (former Iranian Prime Minister) Upstate New York, 1883 is…

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June 2, 2016

By Justin Seitz

Bait and Switch: The Failure of Facebook Advertising – An OSINT Investigation

This article was originally posted on the Hunchly blog on Medium. This story starts with Sidney Crosby. A professional hockey player and Canadian icon. I can neither confirm nor deny that I welled up like a small child at the Hockey Hall of Fame’s “Golden Goal” display (I will never forget that moment). So imagine…

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June 1, 2016

By Justin Seitz

Expanding Skype Forensics with OSINT and Python: IP Addresses

This article was originally published on AutomatingOSINT.com. In the first part of this series we covered how to extract email accounts from SQLite databases and pull additional information from FullContact.com to find social media accounts or other online profiles that are associated with those email addresses. In this post we will apply much the same technique except…

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