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Do you wish you had more training opportunities or just chances to flex your OSINT skills? We’re hosting a big event this month where we’ll talk ways to level up your tradecraft, training opportunities, take-home tips and more.

Sign up for and Stream OSINTUp here!


SHANNON RAGAN: This is one path. I've seen so many like origin stories recently from like Rae Baker, Tom Hocker, that are talking about like they got into this stuff because they went to an event. Like events are important in this kind of informal and emerging space of OSINT. 

[music plays]

AUBREY BYRON: Welcome to NeedleStack. I'm Aubrey.

SHANNON RAGAN: And I'm Shannon. 

AUBREY BYRON: And today we're talking to you about an exciting event that we're hosting. called OSINT Up. 

SHANNON RAGAN: Yay. Exciting indeed. I'm so jazzed. 

AUBREY BYRON: It's going to be a really cool free opportunity to level up your OSINT skills and hear from OSINT experts, people in the field, and hopefully gain some tips, advice, resources, and even career advice.

SHANNON RAGAN: Yes. So, OSINT Up is fast approaching. It is Thursday, February 22nd. It starts at 11 a. m. eastern goes for four hours. It is a virtual event. It is free. Did I mention it's free? It's very free. And all online. So, anybody can attend this. If you want to sign up, you can register on our website at authentic8.com/osintup. You can also stream it there on the day of, and you can stream on LinkedIn, X, and YouTube as well. 

AUBREY BYRON: Yeah, join us. It should be a really fascinating day full of great talks from great speakers. And we're going to give you a little bit of a preview of what's to come. But if you listen to our last episode, you know, we've been kind of trying to gather resources on training opportunities.

And I mean, for ourselves, but also for our listeners, but when we were recording our last episode, we had the neat, like opportunity to sit in a professional studio at cyber marketing time. And right after, I think that hours later, yeah, we sat down to record that event. We went to a great session by some folks at Devo about a soccer appreciation day that they had put on.

And it seemed like a really great event where they again, yeah, gathered lots of resources. They had Again, a field where maybe people are a little overworked, not always feeling appreciated. And we thought, Oh, that sounds like OSINT. We should do that for people in OSINT.

SHANNON RAGAN: Yes. And we should do that as soon as humanly possible.

So we're hosting it at the end of February. Yeah, so, you know, there are, I feel like February is just event season for OSINT. I know Recorded Future is doing an event around the same time. SANS CTI is going on as well right after our event. There's just a lot. It's just the time of year that, you know, webinars and events are back.

So there are a lot of opportunities out there. Actually, some of the people that we'll talk about today that are going to be at OSINT Up are probably going to be at these other events as well. They're also former guests of our podcast. Some of them, maybe future guests, others. But you know, the advantage over the podcast, even though we do this on video we do make it accessible for.

People to consume audio only so you don't get the advantage of presentations and screenshots and videos and things like that. So, it will be a multimedia extravaganza to aid your many learning styles. 

AUBREY BYRON: We just learned so much over interviewing so many of these fascinating experts from all across different use cases for OSINT.
And we just wanted to gather up some of those people and see what everyone else could learn. So. Yeah, like you said, a lot of it will be speaker presentations. Some of it will be more of a demonstration. So yeah, I 

SHANNON RAGAN: can't wait. Yeah. So let's dive into who is doing this event. We will not be the event.
We will be your not so glamorous host again, you know, trapped in our houses. But yeah, let's run down who's speaking and what we know on 

AUBREY BYRON: topics. Yeah. So we have an incredible keynote speaker joining us. The always wonderful and very well lit Micah Hoffman. He is going to be giving a speech on decoding the digital shadows journey from OSINT novice to master with continuous learning.

You may know Micah Hoffman as the former president and one of the founding members of OSINT Curious Project. He has since then become the owner and lead trainer at my OSINT training. And that my OSINT training is a really incredible resource for, as we said, these like very few opportunities outside of conferences that exist for leveling up OSINT skills.

And they have trainings on. So many things that you can again for every level, it feels like really dive into some of these skill sets that are really hard to get a grip on following.

SHANNON RAGAN: Micah is another stacked resume and OSINT heavy hitter that I'm sure a lot of our audience has probably heard of Cynthia Hetherington.

She's going to be speaking on professionalizing OSINT through certification. One of the things that we wanted to do with the event is showcase the many paths to OSINT and to, you know, being good at OSINT. We do have, we have a panel on education, like academic programs that are emerging around OSINT.

We have, you know, these certification programs, we have online training training we have, you know, kind of event based training or being self taught. And, you know, these speakers are kind of showing the gamut while showing you also some skills that they can provide you, but You know, just to say that, you know, there's no one way to do it, as I'm sure many centers know and, you know, showcasing the resources that are available out there.

So getting back to Cynthia if you don't know Cynthia is the founder of the Osmosis Institute that puts on OsmosisCon a great. OSINT event every year. They've really expanded their program recently as well. I know they're doing some, you know, training courses and things like that in their run up to the event throughout the year.

If you are not familiar with what Osmosis is a global go to source for obtaining collegial support, professional development, and mutually beneficial relationships that OSINT professionals need to succeed. She is also the CEO of Hetherington Group because she cannot rest. Hetherington Group is a Consulting, publishing and managed services and training firm.

They help folks with due diligence, corporate intelligence and cyber investigations keeping pace with the latest security threats and assessments.

They also have OSINT Academy as part of this. They train investigators, security professionals, attorneys, accountants, military, et cetera. So again, if you're looking for, you know, Training program, Heatherington group has, you know, this huge program around them and you know, really deep OSINT skills to offer that as well.

She's also an author, an educator, a renaissance woman. She cannot be stopped. Can't wait to hear it. Cynthia's talk. 

AUBREY BYRON: You talked a little bit about spanning the gamut between professional and self taught on the self taught side of things. We did want to ask one of our favorite former NeedleStack guests on, and that's Jose Monkey.

You may know Jose Monkey from his TikTok channel where he geolocates videos that are sent to him.

SHANNON RAGAN: To a frightening degree.

AUBREY BYRON: It is important to note that he only does this for people who have specifically asked. Yes. For him to locate these videos. He's not doxing people.

SHANNON RAGAN: This is not a taken Liam Neeson situation. 

AUBREY BYRON: No white women were harmed in the making of these TikTok videos. But we wanted to ask Jose Monkey because I think, at least in our experience, there are now all these training opportunities and certifications and even higher education opportunities. But for a lot of people working in OSINT right now, they came to it, even though Jose Monkey is not a professional, they came to it in much the same way, which is just.

I just started playing GeoGuessr and it was cool. So I did it more. Yeah. But even being in that quote unquote, like amateur sphere of Jose Monkey is using some really interesting techniques to locate these photos, including data mining and you know, some aerial and sun calc things going into

You know, transportation, OSINT, and that's kind of why we wanted to have him present on some of the techniques he uses, which really anyone can do and learn.

SHANNON RAGAN: Amateur does not mean unprofessional, like he's a pro at it. So I can't wait to see kind of the breakdown of how he does some of his crazy capable geolocations. Yeah. 

AUBREY BYRON: And I think what's cool about his videos too, is he always. He's very earnest about how much time it took him, whether or not he got stuck.

And I think that sometimes when you're talking about geolocation, it can just seem so impossible. Yeah, hearing some of that, that like, no, it wasn't easy peasy. It didn't take me five seconds. Yeah, even though this is TikTok. It's great. Yes. 

SHANNON RAGAN: Next up is Gillom Smith. His presentation is going to be playing Duck.
Go, DuckDuckGoose, and starting your research with DuckDuckGo, I'm assuming. He is a tradecraft advisor at FiveCast, very cool organization.

The talk is going to center around search engines and the importance of privacy and security when beginning your research. This is something we talk about a lot on the show primary and secondary alternatives to Google and how that can impact OSINT searches.

And things to consider before clicking on an unfamiliar link to a website and the resources for more tools and information on this subject. So great talk. Looking forward to Gillom's as well. 

AUBREY BYRON: Yeah, Fivecast has also been a friend of the podcast. We've had Abby Dobberton on and Who is Abby? Trent Lewis, talking about machine learning.

SHANNON RAGAN: Yes. These were in the early days of, Oh my God, chat GPT is here. What does it mean for OSINT? So Trent came on and broke it down for us. Yeah. So thank you Fivecast for coming on the show and being part of OSINT Up. 

AUBREY BYRON: Okay. One of the last talks we're going to have is going to be a panel on higher education.

Again, going into some of those new sort of opportunities that exist. For when we ask people how they came to OSINT so often with our guests and when we do the, our kind of prep chat for NeedleStack is usually, I would say at least 90 percent of them are like military, that's where 

SHANNON RAGAN: I was a soldier, 

AUBREY BYRON: yes, and which is really great that there are those opportunities within the military, but now it's kind of growing, at least in the public sector.

And. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Even the opportunities to work with government officials and come at it from a different angle. And that includes the opportunity of degrees, trainings, and continuing education opportunities, because I know so many people are already professional, but you might be wondering, like.

What are these, you know, 22 year olds who are about to join your team with a brand new degree learning? Do they have skills that you don't, that you should kind of brush up on? Or are you worried about like digital natives and their OPSEC capabilities? So I think a lot of that will be answered in that panel.

SHANNON RAGAN: Yeah, I think that's a great perspective, especially for, you know, now that we're in the age that OSINT is a academic path as well as a career path. It's awesome. The Trace Labs presentation is learned by doing non theoretical experience in a safe environment, which is very on brand for Trace Labs. So if you are not familiar with this organization, it is awesome.

It is, they describe themselves as crowdsourcing OSINT to find missing persons. They're a non profit organization and their mission is to accelerate the family reunification of missing persons while training members in the tradecraft of OSINT. What more could you want in the world? It's lovely. The Trace Labs talk is going to be given by the two directors, Alex Minster and Tom Hocker.

Alex is also involved in their global OSINT search party events, which are very cool. I think they just had a search party capture the flag. I saw a lot of chatter on it on social media. Lots of people involved, lots of. Great conversation around it, and I think just generally like a feel good atmosphere of like what they're able to accomplish in these kind of collective time sensitive experiences.

Alex is also really active in two cybersecurity groups. If you're a cybersecurity OSINT, you might be interested in DC 608 and Black Hills Information Security, by the way. For Tom Hocker he is a senior security engineer by day and director at Trace Labs by night. He also hosts the Breadcrumbs podcast.

Shout out to Breadcrumbs, fellow podcast space. He works on the search party, capture the flags. And also I just noticed a dearly sent over his bio for the event. But there was a quote in there that I was like, this is exactly, you know, what we're trying to address. I think with the event itself, he says he sees organizations like trace lab as a gateway into the field of open source intelligence.

And owes his own professional start in the industry to his involvement with trace labs and other hack for good nonprofits. Like this is one path I've seen so many like origin stories recently from like Rae Baker, Tom Hocker that are talking about, like, they got into this stuff because they went to an event, like events are important in this kind of.

Informal and emerging space of OSINT, so if you are interested in dipping your toe or jumping headfirst into the career of OSINT, I really encourage you to come to OSINT Up on February 22nd. It is going to be a lot of helpful information, both in how to improve your skills and how to move forward in your career.

So looking forward to it. Sign up at authentic8.com/osintup. It's going to be great. 

AUBREY BYRON: Wow. Tom also sounds like another person who maybe doesn't rest. 

SHANNON RAGAN: Yeah. And it's like, and this, and also this and sometimes this.

AUBREY BYRON: So and some more. Yeah, I think one of the thing that's cool about this event is there are lots of great conferences that if you have the budget and the time you can go to like OsmosisCon, SANS, OSINT Summit.

But if you don't. We are going to deliver this information to you in your home with your teacup ready. Get in a cozy chair with a blanket and we're going to send you that info. So, yeah, join us at OSINTUp. 

SHANNON RAGAN: We'll see you then. Bye!

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