Security professionals have long recognized OSINT software tools' vital role in effective social media tracking. This fact holds even more true when examining image and video posts for actionable threat intelligence.
Most OSINT investigations require some image and video analysis. If scrutinized correctly, these materials can provide a wealth of information- pinpointing where and when a video was recorded or where a photo was taken can often provide essential threat intelligence.
However, security teams must remember that utilizing images and video posts can present some difficulties.
The Three Primary Challenges for Image and Video Verification
Images and videos are effortless to manipulate, and not all social media tracking methods are effective when identifying the source of a suspicious image or video. Accordingly, when looking at videos and pictures as threat intelligence sources, security professionals face the following challenges:
- Credibility – At the beginning of the internet, users required specialized software, like Adobe Photoshop, and some technical skills to alter images. The recent release of AI image generators like DALL-E and Midjourney makes it easy for any internet user, regardless of skill, to manipulate an image or video to look like a real-life representation.
- Source – Several social media channels make it difficult to track down the source of a video or image, as media is shared and spread across multiple users, groups, and platforms. The EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data, or underlying metadata about an image, is critical in giving pertinent information on a media file (like where and when it was taken). But this data isn't always readily available.
- Quality – A blurry video or image can cause headaches for security personnel as they try to track down bad actors, suspicious activity, or other info that paints a clearer picture than a low-quality video or image can provide.
The Benefit of Social Media Tracking Tools
Fortunately, with the help of advanced OSINT software tools, verifying the authenticity of videos and images has never been easier. This article explores the top 10 OSINT software tools for photo and video verification, each with unique features and capabilities. Whether you're looking to verify the source of an image or pinpoint a video's recording location, these tools can help you do it with speed, accuracy, and ease.
Let's dive in.
Top 10 OSINT Software Tools
TinEye is a social media tracking tool designed to execute reverse image searches to identify the accompanying image data. To use, investigators can copy and paste the image URL (or upload the file directly), and TinEye will list the various locations, dates, and websites that have utilized the image over time.
Search by Image
Search by Image is an OSINT software tool supported by various search engines, including Google and Bing. It is a browser extension that makes effortless reverse image searches possible. The Search by Image extension helps journalists, researchers, and investigators verify image authenticity and helps identify social media disinformation campaigns.
Foto Forensics uses a heat map-like filter to identify altered areas of a photo or image. Featuring an easy interface where investigators can copy and paste an image link, this social media tracking tool will detail any areas of the picture where adjustments to the original file may have occurred.
ExifTool is an OSINT software tool that can be utilized on- and offline. ExifTool shows detailed metadata tags of an image, which can include helpful GPS coordinates.
Note: This is best downloaded and utilized on a desktop instead of a mobile device for easy and continual use.
Exif Viewer is another social media monitoring tool that displays the Exif and the IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) data in local and remote JPEG images.
Remember that this tool does not work with video or image file types like PNGs, GIFs, etc.
This data extraction tool provides a hefty dose of information on image files, including shutter speed, exposure compensation, flash data, ISO number, and, most importantly, the date and time the image was taken. GPS information may also be available for certain images to further assist OSINT investigations.
Unlike other tools on this list, EXIFData requires a fee, although a free trial is available immediately.
Let’s Enhance is an OSINT software tool allowing users to improve image resolution, quality, and clarity of blurry media files containing valuable information.
Free trials are available to upload potentially suspicious files and obtain more apparent results.
Photos can be manipulated or altered on social media and the wider online world. Diffchecker allows investigators to find minute details that social media users may have added, removed, or changed. Upload (or drop and drag) two similar images, and Diffchecker will do the rest.
Fake News Debunker by InVID & WeVerify
The Fake News Debunker was designed primarily for journalists and fact-checkers. Debunker allows users to quickly get contextual information on Facebook and Twitter images, videos, and YouTube videos. The tool can also conduct reverse image searches for extra details and has an in-house “Database of Known Fakes” to look up popular videos from various social media platforms.
LifeRaft's Navigator product is an essential OSINT software tool that offers numerous benefits for image and video verification.
One of Navigator’s key features is its ability to collect and analyze data from various sources, including social media platforms, message boards, blogs, dark web, and deep web forums. Navigator's scope makes it easy to verify the authenticity of images and videos by cross-referencing them with other sources of information.
Many image and video verification tools require investigators to upload or copy and paste suspicious videos one at a time. When dealing with emergencies and potential threats – where time is of the essence – this can be a slow process. Navigator's advanced filtering tools can help users quickly identify manipulated or fake content, saving time and improving the accuracy of their analysis.
The platform's powerful analytics capabilities allow users to visualize data intuitively, making it easy to spot patterns and trends that traditional methods may miss.
Making Use of Social Media Tracking Tools as Part for Your OSINT Framework
The bottom line - the continued evolution of AI and the sophistication of threat actors will make image and video verification in OSINT investigations more crucial than ever.
We hope this guide provides you with a solid starting point for your research and exploration and that you find the right OSINT software tool to meet your needs.
Contact us today for a demonstration, and see the benefit of including Navigator in an intelligence-led security strategy.