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Part 4: Search techniques: OSINT Investigations


General search engines

A web search engine is a web-based tool that enables users to locate their information on the WWW. The examples of popular search engines are shown in table 1.


General Search Engines

Table 1: Examples of general search engines.


Meta Search Engines

Table 2: Examples of meta search engines.


Also called as aggregators, these engines run the search on the general search engines and return the best results from them in one place. Examples of meta search engines are shown 


Archives and special search

Table 3: Examples of archives and special search websites.


A wiki of social media monitoring solutions: Some of these are free while some are paid, follow the link to see more details. http://wiki.kenburbary.com/social-meda-monitoring-wiki

Social searcher: Real time monitoring of social media sites http://www.social-searcher.com


Search techniques

Keyword search techniques play an important role in narrowing down your search and investigation. In the process of gathering information, determining what's relevant and what is not. Figure 5 shows how you could amplify your search and acquisition process.


Figure 5: Keyword search techniques for OSINT investigation, also useful for other investigations.

Task: You are given a narrative and you have to identify the keywords to conduct an online search on your potential suspect.

Disclaimer: This is taken from the publicly available resources from the FBI's website. To be used for educational purpose only. Ahmed Abdallah Taha Kandil is wanted for international parental kidnapping pursuant to an arrest warrant issued on November 21, 2014, in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia. In 2014, Kandil and his estranged wife each resided in James City County, Virginia, and shared joint custody of their two children, Belel Kandil and Amina Kandil. On August 29, 2014, Kandil picked up the children from his estranged wife’s home and advised her that he was taking them to visit his sister out of town and they would return before school started. Instead, he and the children flew out of JFK airport to Boryspil, Ukraine, and then to Ataturk, Turkey, and never returned. On September 5, 2014, the Circuit Court of Williamsburg and James City County granted the children’s mother immediate sole and legal custody. Kandil and his children may be living in the Alexandria, Cairo or Giza areas of Egypt, or the Hatay region of Turkey.


Send your lists to malvika.forensic@gmail.com for a quick review.


Published by

Dr Malvika Mehta (ACSFS) (MSc) (BAMS) Forensic Investigator, Consultant, Trainer & Independant Expert Witness, OSINT specialist, Forensics course designer

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