When conducting OSINT research, don’t forget image searches, as they can reveal quite a bit. We have all heard the saying, ” A picture is worth a thousand words.” We understand its meaning and know it to be very true. However, when it comes to OSINT research, sometimes what is in the background of a picture is worth a million words!
A recent Netflix show comes to mind as I write this blog post. Have you seen The Tiger King yet? Some people can watch it, while others I have heard just can’t get through the series. At any rate, one thing I recall very well is how several social media posts worked in the favor of an investigation to find the fugitives who were on the run. The main character (who was on the run) and his husband posted many social media photos trying to make it look like they were in Mexico. Upon further attention, it was noticed that the background of the images made it very clear that they were indeed in Florida. Certain identifying clues led law enforcement to their exact location.
The more photos found when using OSINT research the better. Bing has an excellent built in option.
Bing’s Reverse Images
- Bing: Bing search engine has an image search that allows an upload of an image in the same way Google Image Search does. Below you will see what is produced when we uploaded the image on the left. All the images on the right are instantly populated.
If nothing comes up, try the cropping the image using the “visual search”. Let’s say we want to focus on one area of the image. The visual search allows you to crop the image in a way that may reveal different results.
You can see the difference between the two. This can be very helpful when you have a picture of someone in a public place. You may not be able to pinpoint exactly where they are. Using this Bing feature may produce more photos with an exact location.
Pinterest Image Search
- Log into your Pinterest account.
- Click on any pin in your home feed (or on any profile or board).
- Click the icon in the bottom-right corner of the pinned image.
Simply click on the visual search icon, you can see everything else in Pinterest that is similar.
Instagram Has Over 95 Million Photos Uploaded Daily.
One of our recent blog posts discussed just how many photos are in the social media platform and how it can be used in investigation. In fact, we were recently able to help a client by identifying a person was at Walt Disney when they were trying to locate him to serve papers. It can be quite valuable!
Facial Recognition Apps
In the near future, facial recognition apps may be more readily available. Especially if companies like Clear AI has anything to say about it. An app that lets you identify anyone from a photo, and it is currently being used by law enforcement. Their mission, as stated on their website is:
Clearview AI is a new research tool used by law enforcement agencies to identify perpetrators and victims of crimes.
Clearview AI’s technology has helped law enforcement track down hundreds of at-large criminals, including pedophiles, terrorists and sex traffickers. It is also used to help exonerate the innocent and identify the victims of crimes including child sex abuse and financial fraud.
Using Clearview AI, law enforcement is able to catch the most dangerous criminals, solve the toughest cold cases and make communities safer, especially the most vulnerable among us.
What trick of the trade do you use?