The Interview – Dutch OSINT Guy

Capteurs Ouverts is launching a new serie of articles in between open-source research pieces called The Interview.

Because we strongly believe the OSINT community is in fast expansion and made of very different people, different approaches, we are giving the floor to those who fell into the rabbit hole to understand what they are doing and how.

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Is he real or is he just a sockpuppet 🙂 ? Dutch OSINT guy is part of the Dutch team that is moving the OSINT scene and one of the protagonists of the very good OSINT CURIOUS resource site. Let’s meet him…. P

Could you please introduce yourself for Capteurs Ouverts audience?

Well i am Dutch, a guy and my main specialization is OSINT. By being Dutch you probably figured i am from the Netherlands. 

We loved your post about OSINT as a state of mind. What does OSINT mean for you? And how did you start working on it? Are you coming from a technical/IT background?

Thank you that you like my blog post, really appreciate that you wrote a reply blog on it. What OSINT means to me….it means that one can find and analyze basically anything in this digital age. But…. OSINT information is not only to be found online. A paper newspaper, TV, library, academic research papers, books etc. all contain open source intelligence in potential. How i started working on OSINT was a natural process, i already was an all source analyst. Like i said with the internet growing and expanding the last decades it was a natural process for me to gather intelligence from the internet. And as a kid i always have been interested in technology and information. From the day i got my Comodore 64 (yes i am old) i was sold. 

 How have you seen that space evolves? Do you think it is gaining more momentum now?

I have seen the OSINT landscape gain more and more momentum. These last 5 years the interest in the subject has been major. Which makes sense i mean who isn’t online nowadays? Social Media has become people’s first love, they don’t even talk face to face to each other anymore. So yes it has a huge amount of momentum. And also it has had flip-sides, look at the Cambridge Analytica scandal, introduction of GDPR and database breaches. People are becoming more aware of the fact that it is too easy sometimes to gather really good information about someones private life and thoughts. As an OSINT professional i dislike that certain information is being blocked and block more but as a privacy perspective i can only promote these things going the other way.

By OSINTing you, we know you regularly attend SANS Conference on Open Sources Research – can you make us dream and tell us what did you learn? What are the must-attend conferences on OSINT according to you?

I attended the Sans Conference in Las Vegas recently indeed. This is because i am in the proces of becoming a SANS Instructor for the « SEC487 Open-Source Intelligence Gathering and Analysis » training. So i did not come there to learn about OSINT, it was me learning how to become an instructor from my buddy Micah. The must attend OSINT Conferences……well i don’t visit conferences often. I live in the Netherlands and there are no good Conferences over here which go in depth on OSINT. Most good conferences i know of are in the United States. Defcon/Blackhat has the Social Engineering village for instance, that is one i really would like to see in the future and learn from. Also OSMOSIS conference looks interesting when i look at the agenda and speakers. But to be honest i can’t afford to visit those conferences since i am paying out of my own pocket (looking for a sponsor hahahaha).

For the networking and learning just try to make contact with like minded people online. I mean i do OSINT for a living i should know how to find the right people and information right 😉

  What are your specialities and what are you mainly working on? Any projects you can share?

My speciality is probably that I’ve got tenacity, i just don’t give up easily. Justin Seitz just wrote a great blog in tenacity. I find it hard to tell what i am specifically good at when it comes to it. I like to solve puzzles and dig into topics and analyze them. That’s why i am always looking for new techniques, methods or tools which can help me or make my daily OSINT routines more easy. I am currently working on a new blog where i take a deeper dive into the OSINT state of mind. I will try and show how my minds works during OSINT research and what decisions and steps i make based on findings. And like i said i am investing on becoming an OSINT instructor in the near future. Also i am going to give lectures more often and consult businesses. 

What would you advise to beginners getting into it?

Do your homework on OSINT. And don’t look at tools so much, tools are just tools. Tools will come and go.Invest in how to preserve your findings. Learn how to verify your findings, be your own devil’s advocate or even better let other test your findings on consistency and such. And with datasets becoming larger and larger try and invest on learning how to analyze and gain insight on large amounts of data. And i want to add something that i find really important, share ! Share your knowledge, tools & tips while starting at OSINT. Help each other get better and learn from each other. 

Any final words?

Thank you for this interview. Hope it will help people to get into the OSINT field because it is so much fun once you get the hang of it ! 




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