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PyNet Labs- Network Automation Specialists

Best OSINT (Open-source Intelligence) Tools

Author : Pankaj Kumar
Last Modified: January 19, 2024 
OSINT Tools Featured Image

Introduction

We live in a digital world where everything is online, and that’s where you have to find relevant information about everything. This information can be easily gathered using OSINT tools as the internet world is vast, but it is impossible to find the information you are looking for every time. Does that mean that the information is not available on the internet?

No, maybe your desired result is not there, but still, there is a lot of information, and that’s where OSINT tools come in handy. In this blog, we will learn about the best OSINT tools, but first, we need to understand what is OSINT to get a better understanding of the tools.

There was a time when only materialistic things had value, but times have changed, and a non-materialistic thing, information, has become the most important thing in the world.

Now, even things like diamonds, gold, etc., don’t have any value compared to information. These OSINT tools come in handy to dig up all the information available on all internet resources.

Here is the top 15 OSINT tools –

  1. ExploitDB
  2. Censys
  3. Shodan
  4. Hunter
  5. ZoomEye
  6. DorkSearch
  7. Intelligence X
  8. AlienVault
  9. Wigle
  10. LeakIX
  11. Subfinder
  12. Amass
  13. sublist3r
  14. Maltego
  15. Sherlock

You can check out detailed information about these OSINT tools below. First, let’s understand OSINT.

What is OSINT?

OSINT means Open-Source Intelligence. It helps a person or entity derive information from public sources like social media, surface, deep web, dark web, etc. The open-source part of the term OSINT indicates that no illegal or goofy tactics are needed to obtain this information.

This information can be about an individual, any business, a business owner, a business network, a nation, or anything relevant. This information is freely available online from resources such as blogs, social media, SERP results, or other digital assets.

What are OSINT Tools?

The term “open-source intelligence” (OSINT) refers to tools that enable the gathering of publicly accessible or open-source information. The basic objective of OSINT software is to gain more knowledge about a person or a company.

Over 99% of the material on the internet, according to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, is inaccessible to big search engines. That involves gathering open data with the aid of OSINT tools. You can cross-reference information and integrate several data points using more sophisticated OSINT software to find a source of truth.

Why do we need OSINT Tools?

OSINT is very important nowadays as Cyber Crimes are at their peak, and the information is often leaked publicly. It is not only the Information from breaches but also information mistakenly kept publicly by the site owner that can be found.

OSINT tools help in keeping tabs on the information chaos that can happen. It helps in the following:

  1. Penetration Testing
  2. Breach Detection
  3. Ethical Hacking
  4. Chatter Monitoring

With the help of the right OSINT tool, an enterprise can evaluate all the information threats and take appropriate actions to stop any information chaos.

Different Types of OSINT Tools

OSINT tools can be divided in to 3 categories which are as follows –

  1. Discovery Tools – Discovery tools are powerful instruments employed to explore and uncover vast amounts of information. Take Google, for instance, commonly perceived as a basic search engine, but in the hands of an OSINT expert, its capabilities for revealing valuable insights are far from simple, as we will soon discover.
  2. Scraping tools – Scraping tools play a crucial role in securely gathering and filtering specific data from websites, ensuring efficient extraction while minimizing the risk of detection by the source and eliminating any unnecessary information that may interfere with the desired data.
  3. Aggregation tools – Aggregation tools are instrumental in processing and analyzing securely stored data, transforming it into actionable insights. These tools effectively consolidate interconnected data fragments, revealing meaningful relationships and connections across datasets, ultimately presenting a comprehensive and digestible format.

Now that you got an excellent overview of OSINT. It is time to move to learn more about the top 15 OSINT tools in our list.

Top OSINT (Open-source Intelligence) Tools

Here are the top 15 OSINT Tools in our list:

1. ExploitDB

ExploitDB

ExploitDB is a tool used to search exploits from exploit databases. It is an excellent tool for finding potential weaknesses in your network and keeping current with assaults taking place on other networks. We can gain more knowledge about hacker techniques and improve our own security as a result, thanks to this archive.

Pros

  • Vast Exploit Database
  • Open and Free Access
  • Active Community Participation

Cons

  • Lack of Verification
  • Limited Contextual Information

2. Censys

Censys.io (www.censys.io) is a web-based search platform used to evaluate the attack surface of Internet-connected devices. Not only can the tool be used to identify Internet-connected assets and Internet of Things/Industrial Internet of Things (IoT/IIoT), but it can also be used to identify Internet-connected industrial control systems and platforms.

Censys

Using the Censys platform, information security professionals may find, track, and examine devices that are connected to the Internet.

Pros

  • Extensive Internet Visibility
  • Advanced Search and Analysis Capabilities

Cons –

  • Limited Data Access for Free Users
  • Reliance on Active Scanning

3. Shodan

Shodan stands for Sentient Hyper-Optimised Data Access Network. It is a search engine that maps and collects data about internet-connected devices and systems. Shodan is also known as a search engine for the internet of things (IoT).

Shodan

It is among the most used tools in this list as it provides results that make more sense to security professionals. The major function of this open-source program is to assist the security analyst in locating the target and testing it for various flaws, passwords, services, ports, and other things.

Pros

  • Extensive Internet of Things (IoT) Device Visibility
  • Powerful Search and Filtering Capabilities

Cons

  • Potential Privacy and Security Concerns
  • Learning Curve for Effective Use

4. Hunter

Hunter

With Hunter, you can quickly locate business email addresses and connect with important contacts to your company. This tool collects emails as you browse websites without the hassle of finding them or copying and pasting them.

Pros

  • Comprehensive Email Intelligence Gathering
  • Integration with Multiple Data Sources

Cons

  • Limited Free Access and Advanced Features only available after Pay
  • Dependency on Email-Related Information for Investigation

5. ZoomEye

ZoomEye

ZoomEye is the global cyberspace mapping leader, China’s first and world-renowned cyberspace search engine powered by the 404 Laboratory of Knownsec, and a world-renowned cyberspace search engine.

Pros

  • Extensive Internet of Things (IoT) Device Visibility
  • Advanced Search and Filtering Capabilities

Cons

  • Limited Free Access
  • Dependency on Active Scanning Techniques for Data Collection

6. DorkSearch

A Google dork query, also known as a custom query, is a search string or custom query that uses advanced search operators to find information that is not readily available on a website.

Dorksearch

This query-based open-source intelligence tool was primarily designed and built to assist users in accurately and efficiently targeting the index or search results. Over the years, investigators have found ways to reverse engineer search engines such as Google to find the information they need, which is also known as Google Dorking.

Pros:

  • Free to use
  • Simplicity
  • Provides specific and limited results

Cons:

  • Privacy Issues
  • Not completely legal

7. Intelligence X

Intelligence X is a data archive and search engine. Search for Tor, I2P, data leaks, and the public web using email, domain, IP, CIDR, Bitcoin address, and other parameters.

Intelligence X

Intelligence X does not make any distinctions when it comes to maintaining data sets, regardless of how contentious they may be. This information is very beneficial to political analysts, security professionals, news reporters, etc.

Pros

  • Comprehensive Data Collection and Analysis Capabilities
  • Wide Range of Search and Exploration Options

Cons

  • Limited Free Access
  • Reliance on External Data Sources for Information Retrieval

8. AlienVault

It is the First Truly Open Threat Intelligence Community in the World. It will provide you with FREE access to over 20 million threat indicators added every day.

AlienVault

As a result, the entire community is more secure since it enables private businesses, independent security researchers, and governmental organizations to freely interact and exchange the most recent knowledge on new threats, attack strategies, and malicious actors.

Pros

  • Unified Security Management and Threat Intelligence Platform
  • Extensive Community Collaboration and Sharing of Security Information

Cons

  • Costly Subscription Plans for Full Access to Advanced Features
  • Steep Learning Curve for Configuration and Implementation

9. Wigle

Wigle

The Wireless Geographic Logging Engine is referred to as WiGLE, and its website address is https://wigle.net. The geographical locations of hundreds of millions of wireless access points are mapped out using WiGLE, which is effectively a global database.

Pros

  • Extensive Database of Wireless Networks and Their Locations
  • Interactive Mapping and Visualization Features

Cons

  • Limited Accuracy of Geolocation Data
  • Dependency on User Contributions for Database Updates

10. LeakIX

LeakIX is the first platform to integrate both an open reporting platform linked to the results and a search engine indexing public information.

LeakIX

This platform is very similar to Shadon regarding the queries used and display, but some things set them apart. The first is that LeakIX provides insights into compromised devices, servers, and database schemes.

Pros

  • Extensive Database of Leaked and Exposed Data
  • Advanced Search and Analysis Capabilities

Cons

  • Limited Free Access
  • Dependency on External Data Sources for Information Gathering

11. Subfinder

Subfinder

Subfinder is a subdomain discovery tool that uses passive online sources to find valid subdomains for websites. It has a straightforward modular architecture that is optimized for speed. Subfinder is designed to do only one thing – passive subdomain enumeration – and it does it very well.

Pros

  • Fast and Efficient Subdomain Enumeration
  • Integration with Multiple DNS Data Sources

Cons

  • Limited Customization Options for Scanning Parameters
  • Relatively Steeper Learning Curve for Effective Use

12. Amass

Amass

This package includes a tool to assist information security professionals with network mapping of attack surfaces and external assets.

Pros

  • Comprehensive Subdomain Enumeration and Discovery
  • Flexible Configuration and Customization Options

Cons

  • Relatively Slower Scan Speed in Comparison to Some Alternatives
  • Steeper Learning Curve for Effective Utilization

13. sublist3r

This package includes a Python utility made to list website subdomains using OSINT. It aids bug hunters and penetration testers in gathering subdomains for the site they are focusing on.

Pros –

  • Fast and Efficient Subdomain Enumeration
  • Integration with Multiple DNS Data Sources

Cons

  • Limited Customization Options for Scanning Parameters
  • Dependency on External DNS Data Sources for Information Gathering

14. Maltego

Maltego is a forensics and intelligence application that is open source. It will provide you with timely mining and information gathering, as well as representation of this information in an easy-to-understand format.

Maltego

It is an in-built tool in Kali Linux, designed and developed by Paterva. With the aid of multiple built-in transforms, this open-source intelligence tool is primarily used to conduct a significant exploration against a variety of targets.

Pros

  • Powerful Data Visualization and Link Analysis Capabilities
  • Integration with Multiple Data Sources and APIs

Cons

  • Costly Commercial License for Full Access to Advanced Features
  • Steeper Learning Curve for Effective Use of the Tool

15. Sherlock

DfR Solutions’ Sherlock Automated Design Analysis is a software tool for analyzing, grading, and certifying the expected reliability of products at the circuit card assembly level.

Sherlock

This tool can be used to find usernames across social media platforms. It is an open-source python product and is easily available on GitHub.

Pros

  • Efficient Social Media Username Enumeration
  • Easy-to-Use Command-Line Interface

Cons

  • Limited Coverage of Social Media Platforms
  • Dependency on User Contributions for Expanding Platform Support

Top Features of OSINT Tools

Here are some features that you should consider while selecting an OSINT Tool –

  • Passive – Passive techniques involve leveraging existing data to extract additional information. Investigators input the data they already possess into a passive OSINT tool, which then helps uncover supplementary details. This approach can be liked to cast a wide net while fishing, where the goal is to capture as much relevant information as possible. Passive OSINT tools are commonly used in information-gathering activities.
  • Active – Active techniques, on the other hand, focus on actively seeking out hidden or undisclosed information. Instead of relying solely on existing data, investigators employ various strategies to acquire specific details. For example, they may engage with a target’s acquaintances on social media platforms to gather additional insights over time. In the fishing analogy, active OSINT can be compared to spearfishing, where the aim is to precisely target and retrieve desired information. While specific software may not be required for active tactics, there are numerous tools available that can enhance and support these investigative strategies.

Choosing the best OSINT Tool

Choosing the best OSINT tool involves considering several key factors:

  • Functionality: Look for tools that offer a wide range of features and capabilities, such as data collection, analysis, visualization, and reporting.
  • Data Sources: Evaluate the tool’s ability to access and extract data from various online sources, such as social media platforms, public databases, news sources, and deep web content. A comprehensive tool should cover diverse data channels.
  • User Interface and Ease of Use: Consider the tool’s user-friendliness and intuitive interface.
  • Customization and Flexibility: Look for tools that allow customization and adaptability to suit your investigative needs.
  • Data Security and Privacy: Ensure that the tool prioritizes data security and privacy, as OSINT often involves handling sensitive information.
  • Cost and Licensing: Consider the tool’s pricing structure, licensing options, and whether it aligns with your budget and organizational requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 – What are OSINT tools?

OSINT stands for Open-source Intelligence. OSINT are tools that are used to gather information from public sources like social media, surface, deep web, dark web, etc. The open-source part of the term OSINT indicates that no illegal or goofy tactics are needed to obtain this information.

Q2 – Are OSINT tools free?

Most of the tools linked with OSINT are open-sourced and free to use. However, there are some tools too that require monthly or annual subscription fees.

Q3 – Are OSINT tools Legal?

Despite the fact that these tools are often used by hackers who are looking for a way to launch an illegal attack or steal information, the OSINT tools are totally legal to use. These tools are designed to help you research the potential information that can save you from attackers or hackers.

Q4 – What is OSINT automation?

OSINT automation involves using automated tools or software to streamline and expedite the collection, analysis, and processing of open-source intelligence (OSINT) information. It saves time and effort by automating repetitive tasks such as web scraping, data extraction, and information aggregation, allowing investigators to focus on higher-level analysis and interpretation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, open-source intelligence (OSINT) offers valuable information for investigators, researchers, and security professionals. With the increasing need to gather intelligence from various sources, OSINT tools have become essential for efficient data discovery and analysis.

Whether you’re conducting penetration testing or seeking valuable insights, these top OSINT tools provide powerful capabilities to enhance your investigations and bolster cybersecurity measures. By harnessing the potential of these tools, you can uncover hidden vulnerabilities, secure your systems, and gain a competitive edge in today’s data-driven landscape.

With this, we finish our list of the top 15 OSINT tools. We hope you liked the information provided. You can learn about these tools in-depth in our Certified Ethical Hacker CEH Course. For more details on courses, you can go to the menu bar and select from the “All Courses Menu” or you can follow this link: https://linktr.ee/pynet_labs

You should also check out – Network Troubleshooting tools

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