Social media has become the axis around which everyday life revolves. Currently, there are 4.89 billion social media users worldwide.
Users upload terabytes of content to social media every minute. Individuals often take to social media to share intimate details of their professional and personal lives. For example, 59% of people post names and photos of their children, and as many as 93% of users post about employment updates.
What do these stats mean for OSINT analysts and security teams?
Social media has emerged as a valuable intelligence source for security professionals to identify and respond to threats before they come to fruition or cause irreparable harm. However, with hundreds of channels to monitor, navigating the seemingly endless online realm can be a challenge.
The good news is that numerous monitoring tools can make a social media investigation much more straightforward.
Of course, the provided list is not the final word on all social media monitoring tools. However, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned security professional, it offers an excellent place to start.
Top Social Media Monitoring Tools
This search engine allows analysts to track all public mentions on social media networks and the internet. Users can quickly assess what people may be saying about a business in one user-friendly dashboard, which helps save valuable time and resources.
Although primarily marketed as a brand monitoring tool, Social Searcher has applications for social media investigation. The search engine allows analysts to identify and explore popular positive social posts as well as popular negative ones. Focusing on the negative posts may reveal potential threat actors and plans beyond the average disgruntled customer.
Additionally, Social Searcher is partially free. Security professionals can take advantage of the free aspects of the search engine and upgrade if required.
A picture, as they say, is worth 1000 words. Images posted online contain a treasure trove of information. Every posted photo has EXIF data- information like the type of camera used, camera settings, and even where and when the photo was taken.
In keeping with this theme, Search4faces is a reverse-face search engine social media monitoring tool that can help find photos of a person across the internet. The right person or someone very close can be found within seconds using a combination of AI, facial recognition, and machine learning. After a picture is found, the search engine provides a link to the person's profile on the social network ok.ru and vk.com, and others.
Search4faces’ primary limitation is that only four databases have been partially or entirely collected: avatars of Clubhouse users, Tiktok users, and the main photos of the social network Odnoklassniki and Vkontakte.
This innovative tool is still handy for social media research and will likely grow over time.
Hashatit is a unique social media monitoring tool that identifies unique hashtags sprinkled throughout social media. This tool offers advanced search features to include more detailed information, but like other search tools, there are some limitations. Hashatit does not cover Chan boards, message boards, or different corners of the dark web where threats may breed.
Launched in 2005, Reddit is one of the most popular online websites today, with 50 billion monthly page views and 430 million daily active users. Members love using the site to get news, post memes and engage in dialogue with like minds. Additionally, Reddit is a valuable social media monitoring tool. Security professionals can use the site to identify threats from inside and outside an organization. Additionally, monitoring site forums allows for easy tracking of events that could impact a company’s operations.
To that end, Redective is a simple (and free) tool that searches the profile of a Reddit user and then collects and displays all found data. Keep in mind that Redective does not store any data on its server. Redective works in real-time by querying Reddit each time a search is performed.
Location-based Social Media Investigation Tools
Created by the brains behind Snap Chat and launched in 2019, Snap Map appears as a color-coded heat map that allows users to see geotagged social media posts in all corners of the globe. Because of its color coding (and its tight guidelines that prevent users from sharing false location coordinates), Snap Map is an easy way to monitor highly active areas during an emergency, like a natural disaster or criminal attack.
Parler Video Upload Map
Launched in 2018, Parler is an American-based social networking service. Parler is primarily favored amongst right-leaning groups and has over 20 million registered users and 40,000 daily active users. This platform gained particular notoriety during the Capitol riots. It demonstrates that security teams not monitoring alt-tech networks increase the risk of missing valuable threat intelligence.
Parler Video Upload Map shows the approximate location (within 100ft) of where Parler videos have been uploaded. Security teams can zoom in on a specific place and see where people have taken videos and uploaded them to Parler. Remember that the location data comes from where the video was recorded, not the upload place. Also, clicking on the video's dot on the map gives date stamp information.
Navigator: A Social Media Monitoring Tool that Does It All
The issue with launching and using any social media investigation tool is that there are generally some limitations in the type of information it can collect. For example, specific social media tools may be unable to monitor smaller social media platforms or message boards and forums requiring a login. Or information on map-based search tools may need to be included or can change within minutes.
In addition, the actionable intel derived from these tools may be limited. Security personnel may be able to identify potential threats, but not the deeper conversations or connections that will provide the most information possible on who, what, when, and where.
LifeRaft’s Navigator can be a valuable part of your social media investigation toolkit.
Navigator ensures early risk detection across the broad spectrum of social media and related user-generated content, which includes major and minor social media platforms, blogs, forums and message boards, classified sites, and deep and dark web sources. As a result, it's the most comprehensive tool available, and it saves security teams valuable resources and time by eliminating the need to use multiple devices and apps to get the job done.
Featuring real-time threat detection and alerts, as well as 24/7 monitoring that is both detailed and automated, Liferaft’s Navigator is the best SOCMINT tool available for security personnel who want to be ahead of the game constantly.
The Bottom Line on the Top Social Media Investigation Tools
Although applications must always go together with good tradecraft, utilizing the proper social media monitoring tools can significantly simplify the identification of potential threats against your organization. By automating routine tasks, these tools significantly contribute to ensuring the safety of your valuable assets, employees, and customers.
Contact us today, and take a Navigator tour to discover how it can make your organization and your personnel safer from the inside out.