Internet is a huge source of information. Not for the users, it is also a great source of information for companies, organizations, and various security agencies.
From vulnerable information to encrypted ones, everything can be broken down using some sort of method. Hence, it is important to find a tool that tests the securities and vulnerabilities of a computer system or network.
One such practice is Open Source Intelligence which is governed by using the OSINT(Open Source Intelligence Tools). OSINT is an amazing tool that is used for penetration testing.
It helps organizations to figure out their information available on the Internet or publicly. One Of the most major concerns for the organization is cybersecurity. Hence, they are willing to pay a massive amount to enhance the security.
So, what is OSINT and how does it work in boosting the security of your organizations and protect against cybercriminals.
- What Is OSINT Tool?
- Why Do We Need OSINT Tools?
- Find Unknown Public Assets
- Discover the Sensitive Information
- Grouping the Information
- 10 Best OSINT Tools For Penetration Testing
- 1. Google Dorks
- 2. Spyse
- 3. TheHarvester
- 4. Shodan
- 5. Maltego
- 6. Recon-Ng
- 7. Metagoofil
- 8. SpiderFoot
- 9. Searchcode
- 10. TinEye
- Wrapping Up
What Is OSINT Tool?
OSINT or Open Source Intelligence is the practice of gathering publicly available information on the Internet. Moreover, it is a practice of collecting data information from public sources like companies and individuals, or organizations.
Some information on the Internet might be locked or do not give access to public networks, most of the information is free and a soft spot for the hackers.
OSINT techniques have been used for various purposes to fulfill the intelligence demands for a specific audience. With the advantages of OSINT, there are few disadvantages associated with the OSINT techniques.
According to Wikipedia, OSINT sources have been divided into different categories. These are the sources from where you can gather the information from.
- Media publications including newspapers, radio, and TV.
- Internet sources
- Public data including budgets, hearings, telephone directories, press conferences, websites, and speeches.
- Professional data includes academic papers, conferences, and dissertations.
- Grey literature and commercial data including patents.
This information may vary in the form of audio, video, text, or articles and blogs.
Why Do We Need OSINT Tools?
Let’s start with a simple situation where a user has to find information on the Internet on a specific topic. (We are talking about the in-depth research.)
There are two ways to find information on the internet. The first one is by using the search engines and gathering and analyzing it to collect the hay of information.
Well, that’s laborious work to do and everyone is not good at researching.
Now, the second way is the use of the OSINT tools that have been developed majorly for this purpose. It scrapes out the information from the various sources and check if the topic is available on the website or not.
Now, OSINT tools have increased drastically over the years by the cybersecurity teams in improving the security infrastructure.
Find Unknown Public Assets
Finding an unknown public asset of your organization can be a major breakthrough in your cybersecurity. These unknown assets can be removed by various processes.
Creating a full map of your entire infrastructure online is the first step to find an unknown asset.
Discover the Sensitive Information
Working with various 3rd and 4th parties can lead to various external attacks. These could also store the data that is stored outside your domain and cannot be deliberately reached.
OSINT can provide this information present outside your domain such as social media, or malicious domains.
Grouping the Information
OSINT tools do some sherlocking on the Internet and find the information related to your organization. Finally, the pieces of information are collected and gathered to form a large actionable insight plan.
Now, all this information can collectively form a sensitive foundation of your data. ]
Most of these OSINT tools are designed for performing such functions, but some might focus more on any one of the above. Hence, they are popular for that.
In this section, we have shared the 10 such best Open Source Intelligence Tools (OSINT) that can be used for penetration testing by organizations and ethical hacker
10 Best OSINT Tools For Penetration Testing
1. Google Dorks
Google Dorks is also a Google Dorking or Google Hacking that can be used to find the most useful information present on the internet using a few strings.
Google Dorks came into existence in 2002 and has been effectively used by organizations to find the available information on the internet. Well, the principle of Google Dorks is a simple one.
Google search engine indexes and crawls and billions of pages every day. Now, Google Dorks is an OSIT based tool that helps in targeting the results available in the Google database.
This is by far the most easiest and traditional way to find information about your organization on the Internet.
Using just a few strings, you can extract a massive database of information.
- Filetype: used to find the File type such as PDF.
- Intext: this option finds the specific text on an indexed page.
- Ext: This string searches for extensions on the Internet.
- Inurl: used for finding a specific query in the URL.
- Intitle: used for finding a specific query in the title.
Spyse is the most popular OSINT tool that is worthy for both small and large businesses. It is a search engine for cyberspace that extracts the information which is used by hackers in reconnaissance.
Spyse contains a vast database of information which helps to explore the information through different entry points. Spyse is one of the database search engines with over 1.2 billion domains, 3.6 billion IPv4 hosts geo info, and over 29 million SSL certifications.
The user can start with a single domain and expand the radius by using various data factors such as IPs, ASNs, Domains, DNS records, and other factors.
It has three different pricing options with the first one as free and the other two paid pricing plans.
This is another amazing OSIT tool that is written in Python and used massively in penetration testing. It helps users gather information on emails, Subdomains, IPS, and subnets from the sources like Search engines and PGP key servers.
In the penetration test, most testers use this tool for harvesting the intelligence and information. Prior to penetration testing, theHarvester can be used as reconnaissance.
One of the best parts about TheHarvester is its expansion and feasibility to reach the various source of information like Google and Bing, DogPile, DNS Dumpster, and a lot of others.
TheHarvester is a relatively easy to use and 100% free OSINT tool. It is used in large numbers for finding the asset outside the organization or domain.
Shodan is a top-notch search engine for education institutes and business corporations. It is used to find the exposed assets on the Internet and trust me, this is a gold mine,
Shodan is a tailor-made search engine for security professionals and focuses on the IoT and deep web-related topics. Shodan can effectively find webcams, Internet surveillance, routers, traffics and smart TVs, and everything that is connected to the Internet.
Shodan is the most flexible search engine for cybersecurity experts. This tool is most effective in finding the assets outside and also test them for different vulnerabilities that include password, services, and ports.
Shodan is completely free to use with the basic plan and for guests. It offers two other paid options for freelance ($60/month), small business ($299/month), corporates ($899/month).
Maltego is a product of Paterva and one of the subparts of the Kali Linux tool. Maltego lets you launch the penetration testes against some targets.
Founded in 2008, this tool is enriched with features effectively in gathering, testing, and analyzing cybersecurity tasks. This OSINT tool plays a significant role in finding the relationships between the data sources on the Internet.
To start with the tool, you need to register on Paterva site. The registration process is free of cost. Once registered, the Maltego tool effectively finds the digital footprints of a particular target.
Maltego contains a vast library of transforms that can be used for discovery from various public resources. Maltego is widely available in all operating systems.
Recon-Ng is another great cybersecurity tool that is used to perform target based surveillance. This means that users can extract the information as per their needs.
This OSINT tool is made on the Metasploit framework. It has different modules that can be set according to the user’s needs. You just need to add the domain workspace in the modules and start working to extract the data.
Recon-Ng comes with other valuable features that include command completion, database interaction, contextual help, API key management, and standardized outputs.
Recon-Ng is only available for Linux and needs Python 2.0 for installation.
Metagoofil is really helpful OSINT tool that is used by hackers in finding the file paths which also contain the usernames and passwords, resources, and others.
This, Metagoofil is built for finding sensitive information like email, password, emails, file paths, and also software versions along with the OS.
The search is mostly performed by the Google engine and the information is then downloaded to the local disk. Lastly, it extracts all the metadata to find out the versions of your file.
Hence, Metagoofil can find any type of file on the Internet such as .pfd, .doc, .ppt, .xls, and many others. This OSINT tool can be used by hackers to launch brutal forces attacks or send phishing emails.
Before they discover such information on the Internet for your organization, you must find this information and remove them from the internet.
SpiderFoot OSINT tool is one of the most valuable tools for cyber reconnaissance and avoids hacking. This amazing tool automates the reconnaissance process of OSINT so that you can perform and monitor the results for reconnaissance and threat detection.
It integrates seamlessly with a myriad of cyber intelligence tools like this. Spiderfoot is really an open-source solution that comes with a sleek dashboard and state-of-the-art technology.
Spiderfoot is efficient in finding the data sources and gather information on domain names, generic names, emails, and IP addresses. All you need is to specify the target and choose the fingerprinting module present.
Spiderfoot gives valuable information on hacking vulnerabilities that might be of form data leaks and hacks. For penetration tests, this OSINT tool is a golden tool.
Searchcode is a free OSINT tool that consists of abundant data and used for finding the intelligence inside the source code of a program.
This OSINT tool is used by developers to find out the problems in source code and its accessibility.
Search engines like Google use or add a repository of code before becoming searchable, searchcode uses its source code to find the sensitive information.
Search code is an easy to use tool that does not require any coding skills. All you need is to type the search field and the tool will return all the search terms which are highlighted.
Lastly, the tool has filters for the computer language that you want to display.
TinEye is a free OSINT tool that is used for checking out graphic piracy as well. It works as a complete reverse image search engine. Thus, it gives information on where the image is how did it come from.
Like others that use keyword matching, TinEye performs a task like signature matching, image matching, watermark search, and other databases to find out the image.
This OSINT tool uses processes such as machine learning, pattern recognition, and image identification to find the data from the Internet.
Tineye is completely free to use.
Open Source Intelligence has wide applications and you have even used this technology lot of times. With the changing demand and hacking threats, OSINT tools are indeed the best choice for penetration testing.
I hope the list of Best OSINT tools given above has helped you perform the penetration test and detect the sensitive information for your organization on the Internet. Do let us know in the comments if we have missed something.