When applying OSINT software, YouTube has become one of the most popular social media platforms. In 2023, YouTube has more than two billion active monthly users and is considered the second-largest search engine in the world. Needless to say, this video platform is instrumental in any comprehensive OSINT operation.
Because videos cover virtually every topic, YouTube can be a powerful tool for acquiring emergency information, like natural disasters and political conflicts. In addition, YouTube can be a resource for identifying threats to personnel, and company property, as users can post video commentaries and comments with little scrutiny.
However, maximizing YouTube as an OSINT source for social media investigations does present some challenges.
The Value of Social Media Investigation Tools
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a beginner, scouring video-sharing websites like YouTube can be extremely difficult. The practical implications of rooting through millions of videos to find valuable threat intelligence can be time-consuming and inefficient.
This article will explore the nine best OSINT software tools for YouTube, highlighting their features and capabilities to help you make informed decisions when conducting your social media investigations.
Top 9 Top OSINT Software Tools for YouTube
Aware Online is an OSINT software tool that allows users to utilize keywords to search for specific videos, playlists, and channels. Analysts can filter video searches by upload date and evaluate channels. Easy to use and completely free, Aware Online is a good starting point to start a broader search. The vast number of search results means that some extra work will go into refining the results into usable threat intelligence.
OSINT Toolkit is a similar and broadly-based social media investigation tool that uses the same URL manipulation as Aware Online to identify videos, channels, and other data that matches specific keywords. Users can also search by an exact phrase, title, live videos, and upload date to achieve even more targeted results.
Videos uploaded at the scene can help provide real-time information during emergencies, and this is where a location-based OSINT software tool like YouTube Geofind comes in handy. YouTube Geofind allows investigators to enter an address or general location to identify videos posted in a geographic area. Geofind is an excellent way to identify videos of recent crimes, incidents, or disasters in a given locale.
Remember, analysts should interpret location data as the reported location data. YouTube allows users to self-select the video's location. Furthermore, the technology used to spoof locations is increasingly available and effective.
Meedan Montage is a helpful tool when it comes to OSINT collaborations. This social media investigation tool allows users to share data and projects with other Google account holders to analyze data or share research in more extensive OSINT operations.
YouTube Metadata is a social media investigation tool that allows investigators to extract the details of uploaded content, such as YouTube playlists, channels, or stand-alone videos.
Remember that when considering metadata from YouTube videos, there are some limitations. One concern is the upload time accuracy, which may sometimes need to be more precise. For instance, if a video is initially set to "Private," its upload time will not be registered. Additionally, if the video's status changes to "Unlisted" or "Public," the metadata extractors may read the change time as the upload time.
Like YouTube Metadata, the YouTube DataViewer is a data extraction tool. DataViewer provides detailed data on any posted YouTube videos. This OSINT software tool is easy to use. Analysts can copy and paste the video URL they want more information on, and YouTube DataViewer will do the rest.
The same limitation that applies to the YouTube Metadata tool applies here: the possible inaccuracy of upload time. It is crucial to remain aware of these discrepancies to ensure the most reliable analysis possible.
MW Metadata is another useful social media investigation tool. This tool quickly grabs precise details about any YouTube video and its uploader, playlist, creator, or channel. Enter the video URL, other YouTube channels, or playlist like the above data extraction tools, and MW Metadata will finish the job.
InVID Verification Plugin
Regarding data extraction and verifying misinformation, the InVID Verification Plugin can be a useful OSINT software tool. Journalists primarily use this social media investigation tool to help verify social network content, allowing investigators to get contextual insight on both YouTube and Facebook quickly.
Leveraging Open-source Intelligence: Practical Application of Navigator OSINT Tools
Analysts will need to utilize more than one of the above tools to perform a comprehensive YouTube investigation. Although these tools are helpful for different aspects of an investigation, such as locating relevant videos or accessing critical metadata on content creators, only some tools can cover every angle of a thorough OSINT operation on the YouTube platform.
Additionally, while all of the above tools can save time compared to a manual search, filtering through data, and plugging in multiple URLs, is hard work. Investigators need a more innovative way to scour YouTube – and all social media channels – to identify the most helpful information for their research and company-specific investigations.
This is where LifeRaft’s Navigator can fill in the gaps.
LifeRaft’s Navigator product is more than a simple search tool. It automates the OSINT process, saving both time and resources. Navigator collects data from public sources, including popular social media platforms and alt-tech social media channels, blogs and message boards, classified sites, deep web sources, and dark web sources to find the most optimal threat intelligence.
The intel-driven platform conducts these searches 24-7 and automatically, with a thorough alert system to let your team know as soon as a possible threat is detected.
With far-reaching capabilities and an exceptional customer support team, LifeRaft builds a bridge between security teams and social media platforms of all varieties to find and analyze the information that matters.
The Bottom Line on the Top Social Media Investigation Tools as An Essential Part of Your OSINT Framework
OSINT software tools are essential for YouTube investigations as they help to streamline data collection and analysis.
While none of the tools mentioned here represent a silver security bullet, each can contribute to a holistic threat intelligence strategy.
By leveraging these YouTube OSINT software tools, you can enhance your research capabilities and turn information into actionable intelligence.
Contact us today to learn more about our product and how you can adopt an intelligence-led OSINT strategy.