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OSINT with ShadowDragon & Digital Tools For Modern Investigations

Technology Podcasts

This podcast covers a variety of cyber security topics, with a focus on candor, and zero b.s. Topics may include OSINT, PAI, Tailored Monitoring, Investigations, Offensive Disciplines, AI/ML, Object Recognition, Forensics, Historical Industry Lore, All things considered in Cyber.


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This podcast covers a variety of cyber security topics, with a focus on candor, and zero b.s. Topics may include OSINT, PAI, Tailored Monitoring, Investigations, Offensive Disciplines, AI/ML, Object Recognition, Forensics, Historical Industry Lore, All things considered in Cyber.




S03 E01: From Rest to Protecting Your Kids

About this Episode Hosts: Daniel Clemens, ShadowDragon CEO Elliott Anderson, ShadowDragon CTO Nico Dekens, ShadowDragon Director of Intelligence and Innovation Collection (aka Dutch_OSINTguy) David Cook, ShadowDragon Director of National Security In this podcast episode, the hosts and guests delve into various topics, from the importance of rest and mindfulness to the challenges of investigative work and the impact of technology on attention spans. Through personal anecdotes and professional experiences, they highlight the need for patience, methodical workflow, and critical thinking in investigative processes, emphasizing the value of asking the right questions rather than seeking immediate answers. They also discuss the evolving nature of technology and its effects on human cognition, cautioning against the pitfalls of constant stimulation and advocating for a balance between productivity and mental well-being. Furthermore, they draw parallels between investigative work and historical societal shifts, reflecting on the tension between industrialism and agrarian workflows and the implications for modern-day practices. Ultimately, the episode offers valuable insights into navigating the complexities of investigative work in an increasingly fast-paced and technology-driven world, emphasizing the importance of rest, reflection, and methodical inquiry.


S02 E05: AI Discussion and Projections

About this Episode Hosts: Daniel Clemens, ShadowDragon CEO Elliott Anderson, ShadowDragon CTO Nico Dekens, ShadowDragon Director of Intelligence and Innovation Collection (aka Dutch_OSINTguy) David Cook, ShadowDragon Director of National Security In our last podcast of 2023, the ShadowDragon crew talked about the importance of veterans’ service, disinformation, and gave some of our best predictions for 2024. One of ShadowDragon’s newest employees, David Cook, talks about running a non-profit focused on Special Operations Forces (SOF) advocacy: • The Special Operations Association of America (SOAA.org) is a veteran service organization that advocates for the past, present and future SOF community. • David first found SOAA during the Afghanistan withdrawal and has been involved ever since. • SOAA, Congress, and several other organizations’ use of open-source information during the withdrawal to help Americans and our Afghan allies. • Bringing service to veterans everywhere we go – ShadowDragon included. • Launching a SkillBridge partnership to assist active-duty service members transitioning to the civilian world. • OSINT use in the Afghanistan withdrawal • Injection of false information into crisis situations and how to triage fact from fiction. Automation in OSINT, according to Nico, the Dutch OSINT Guy: • OSINT is an arduous process – automation can be a powerful tool in highlighting what’s important. • Utilizing ChatGPT to ‘stress-test’ narratives and large amounts of content to narrow down actor motives. • Automated image searches are best used in open-source investigations where the margin for human error is high. • Automation allows investigators and analysts to scale with the amount and volume of information and data that is ubiquitous today. Dependency of Large-Language Models (LLMs), and other tech: • Utilizing LLMs for analysis must be used with caution – there are AI ‘hallucinations’ that return false information. • Remember: the models are trained using data from humans, so it still has a margin of error. • Investigators and analysts should be aware of AI ‘hallucinations’ within their OSINT tools they use. • Small cognitive conditioning happens with the dependency of technology and devices – we’re in for an interesting year with external catalysts (election, emerging LLMs/deepfake tech, etc.). “2024 is gonna be…crazy”, Daniel Clemens, CEO of ShadowDragon • People are not going to be able to trust what hear and see at the end of 2024 due to deepfake technology advances, segregation in the digital world manifesting itself in the physical world. • Regulation for ‘disinformation’ will not go anywhere, but there will be broad discussion and public discourse surrounding automated information – videos, audio recordings, and images. • Disinformation needs to be re-branded and specifically defined in contrast to foreign malign influence operations. Elliott’s OSINT recommendations: • The popularity of OSINT will spurn regulatory action and we’ll see laws made and legal decisions on OSINT. Daniel’s OSINT recommendations: • The value of discernment will be ‘gold’ and being able to deconstruct what information is in front of them will need to be developed and honed. • The ‘AI’ buzzword in OSINT will start to collapse – but some capabilities will get better because of automation, especially Geo-Spatial Intelligence (GEOINT), geo-political use-cases, and supply chain risk management. David’s OSINT recommendations: • More people will find they’ve been utilizing open-source information and creating subsequent intelligence than previously thought, re-valuing OSINT as a sector to the upside, broadening and expanding what OSINT is. • OSINT as an intelligence discipline will take share from GEOINT and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT). • AI and automation will create an ‘information inequality’ where a premium is placed on the truth. Nico’s OSINT recommendations: • More and more people will understand that tradecraft in OSINT is so...


S02 E04: Breaking Down Systems, Breach Data Dumps, A.I., OSINF vs OSINT, and Tech Job Interviews

About this Episode Hosts: Daniel Clemens, ShadowDragon CEO Elliott Anderson, ShadowDragon CTO Nico Dekens, ShadowDragon Director of Intelligence and Innovation Collection (aka Dutch_OSINTguy) This time around the guys get together and talk about breaking down systems, especially as it relates to online data. You might be surprised to discover how social media algorithms are self-radicalizing people, computer experts are not what they used to be, and artificial intelligence could be headed down a destructive path. They visit the past with a look at what open source intelligence was like ten years ago and glimpse what the future might look like with artificial intelligence and Apple Vision Pro goggles. It is all here as three old school open source intelligence investigators once again look at the world through the perspective of analytical intelligence. Reasons we are seeing a recent increase in hacker and breach data activity, likely due to: • School summer break gives kids more free time • Ukraine war personnel returning to computers from battle lines • Hacker message boards feuding and hacking each other Here is what we are seeing when we interview computer job candidates: • Many claim to be an “expert of experts” without the underlying basic knowledge • These days people rarely build computers from parts – Apple security may be part of that • Programmers throw around the term API and then cannot explain an API Nico gives us a glimpse of the evolution of his OSINT work: • Used to manually log into various accounts to make them look active daily • Over time the rise of hundreds of viable platforms required scaling account activity • Now finds that AI and ML results are outdated, biased, or untrue and does not use them for OSINT The guys discuss modern day pros and cons of OSINT data collection: • Elliott finds people trust their niche communities and reveal more in those platforms • Content is moving from text to photos, moving images, and multiple languages, creating challenges • Analysts need to understand various AI programming languages and methodologies to vet the assumptions that produced the results • OSINT data collection processed through artificial intelligence is being questioned and invalidated in courts Social media continues to influence society in unchecked ways: • Social media algorithms have become quicker and more comprehensive in showing content that feeds your interests • People are essentially becoming self-radicalized online through constant reinforcement of their beliefs • Terrorist groups are getting better at planting seeds pushed by algorithms The potential for chaos and societal disruption is increasing: • Overloading systems and organizations are old concepts being applied in new ways through technology • Immigration policies need to address feelings of displacement, accelerated by slow processes and online radicalization • The creation of fake AI-generated content has the potential to push unstable people into violent action The guys continue the in-depth discussion, further exploring challenges and scenarios brought on by technology, especially that crossing into the world of OSINT. This podcast is available in video and audio versions at your favorite podcast outlet, popular video platforms, and the ShadowDragon website. Subscribe to the podcast to stay up to date on the latest. Thank you for listening.


S02 E03: Silicon Valley Bank, Protests, Terrorists, Hacker Forums, Deep Fakes & Donald Trump

About this Episode Hosts: Daniel Clemens, ShadowDragon CEO Nico Dekens (aka Dutch_OSINTguy), ShadowDragon Director of Intelligence and Collection This time it’s a one-on-one conversation as Daniel and Nico cover the latest news in and outside the OSINT world. Their intel perspective on the news is fascinating, but the discussions between the headlines make this episode even more compelling. Listen in as the guys discuss the increasing importance of incident response, crisis management, and operational security, while throwing in advice on protesting, voting, personal security awareness, and more that will add clarity in an ever-changing digital world. Silicon Valley Bank • Learn what went wrong in 60 seconds • Keyword monitoring detected early what other banks were at risk (i.e., Credit Suisse) • Disruptors started pushing false messages about US and EU bank failures • Getting messages, true or false, out to one or two key influencers can topple a company quickly • OSINT data could help drive aggressive investment strategies Extinction Rebellion (XR) • Protest group was infiltrated by Dutch law enforcement • Group feels abused being investigated by the same technique used on terrorists • Amnesty International calls the working method of the police and judiciary "particularly problematic" • Police have an obligation to maintain public order and prevent civil unrest Update: Stabbing Incidents and Alerts in Europe • There have been more stabbing incidents and lone wolf attacks since we discussed the rising trend in a recent episode • U.S. defense employee was stabbed in the United Kingdom near her GCHQ office • Intel agencies issued alerts for increased risk to Vienna prayer houses from Islamic State jihadis • Brussels metro stations are on high alert; U.S. embassy issued an alert for stabbing threat Terrorist Threat Response • Islamic terrorists may go silent for a while, but they are playing a long game and will return • Include native foreign language and dialects for OSINT search queries • Individuals need to increase situational awareness and safety protocols Breached.vc Hacker Forum Owner Arrested • Young man arrested and labeled “kingpin” of hacker info sharing stie • Suspect Conor Brian Fitzpatrick of Peekskill, NY looks like every hacker kid of the last 25 years • Profile does not fit old school hardcore criminal type • Hacker surprisingly made basic mistakes with operational security (opsec) • Unless law enforcement has a replacement in place, the forum will re-emerge elsewhere Donald Trump Announced Pending Arrest • More social media responses are from the left than the right • Messages are so extreme there is an indication they may be generated by bots • People on the right are not responding or mobilizing as they did with January 6th events • The realistic deep fake photos have had a limited effectiveness Deep Fake Tools Are Getting Better • The quality of fakes is getting so good they are making into mainstream media • Nico likes tools from Open AI, Midjourney, and HuggingFace.co • With text to image get very specific with visual details, but also perspective, camera angle, lens, etc. • People are creating AI-generated text and visual content without proper attribution Join us again for more fun discussions about social media, open source intelligence, law enforcement, media manipulation, and the world at large. Look for upcoming guest appearances by other intelligence professionals. This podcast is available in video and audio versions at your favorite podcast outlet, popular video platforms, and the ShadowDragon website. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast. Thank you for listening.


S02 E02: Chinese Spy Balloon, Outing Spies, Islamic Attacks, & Human Trafficking As Seen Thru OSINT

About this Episode Hosts: Daniel Clemens, ShadowDragon CEO Elliott Anderson, ShadowDragon CTO Nico Dekens, ShadowDragon Director of Intelligence and Innovation Collection (aka Dutch_OSINTguy) The guys are on top of the latest espionage and OSINT news around the world. From lone wolf activity to coordinated attacks, they examine recent events from an intelligence perspective, discussing new methodology and emerging patterns. In a world where it isn’t always easy to know what’s real and what to dismiss as disinformation, we look at data to tell the true story. Islamic Terrorism: • An uprise of lone wolf attacks by the Islamic State have been observed in in Europe. Different than the terrorist cells we saw around 2015, but similar methods for achieving maximum damage with a knife. • There is more activity than the last five years so there's clearly something going on. We hope to get more insight on if these were orchestrated or coordinated attacks. • Islamic State simply wants to show they are still present and can do whatever they want when they want. That scares people and also makes some people choose sides. Tyranny Against Farmers: • Farmers in Europe are rising up against strict limits on emissions and nitrogen and have been aggressively protesting, blocking roads and going to politicians’ homes to make their point. • Farmers seek to work out a long-term plan with the government, but so far it hasn't been going that well. It takes time to make big changes. The US took 12 years to switch consumers from analog to digital TV. • Reminiscent of how the United States was started with overburdensome government interference impacting those without appropriate representation. Irregular Warfare/Asymmetric Warfare: • It is all about disrupting society through pinching. Russian election influence didn’t just pick one side, they picked both sides. • It took a long time for many to realize the ability of the internet to interfere with geopolitics. The vast majority will never spot the manipulation. • Irregular warfare uses hacker math to find two or three low-risk vulnerabilities that can affect one super critical vulnerability. Smaller groups can exploit weaknesses and tilt the scales in their favor. Data Dumps: • Super spies that successfully worked covertly for many years are being exposed with data dumps. Also revealing their families disrupts their daily lives for maximum damage. • Foreign policy connections and illegal surveillance on Russian citizens are being exposed through a Snowden type of leak. What we're seeing with data dumps is similar to the Berlin Wall coming down. We believe WWIII has started. • We are now seeing ransomware groups incorporate public relations and openly post job openings with benefits. Data Collection: • People don't question the tech they use like they should. • Vulnerability is on the rise with smart devices and household appliances transmitting usage data across the web and basic apps requesting access to phone data for no good reason. • In China, TikTok users that had anti-government pictures on their phone suddenly found those pictures deleted from their camera roll. We should rename TikTok to DickTok. Splintered Social Media: • People are being pulled out of their comfort zone on certain platforms. It is hard for them to adjust to new restrictions. Splintering mostly affected right-leaning groups. Now we see the same pattern with the left. • Social aspects of the internet started in a very raw state with IRC type things and Yahoo chats. After that it became more polished like Instagram. Parents have stayed but kids have moved on. • Every 7-10 years there is a generational change in social media platforms. The new wave of social media is a little more personal. To some extent it started with Snapchat and now with Be Real. State of OSINT: • For a few years we saw a mass exodus from platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. New groups rose but most have died off. • In smaller ecosystems users...


S02 E01: What We’ve Learned In The Last Year About Social Media, OSINT, and Russia

About This Episode Hosts: Daniel Clemens, ShadowDragon CEO; Elliott Anderson, ShadowDragon CTO Guest: Nico Dekens, Dutch_OSINTguy After an extended layoff, the team returns with Dutch OSINT guy Nico Dekens to discuss changes and lessons learned during that time in the world of OSINT. They cover everything from the evolution of the internet landscape to the latest trends in counter social media and the use of technology in cybercrime and modern warfare. The guys get right into a no holds barred conversation including methodology, tactics, and the current state of affairs. On social media: • For many, the newest social media is like a new drug • Social media gave everyone a voice, but no one is actually listening • More free speech alternatives will rise over the next 24 to 36 months • Twitter model has always been broken, but remains a great source for breaking news • Segmentation of social audiences will see more disinformation with less accountability The war in Ukraine revealed: • Russia was only a regional power, never a global power. • Disinformation was defeated with even quicker counter disinformation • OSINT can be an effective weapon against asymmetrical warfare • Truth beats lies. War is cognitive. Input validation is important. OSINT investigation tips: • Honest intelligence from people with smart phones replaces spy craft • Use the connector of a group to get to the hidden individual • “Pinch” bad guys with a curiosity or provocative action to reveal themselves • Food reviews, dating sites, sports sites, and gaming forums are valuable resources. • Google is good but it is not the internet. Use varied sources. What the near future holds: • Energy prices are contributing to inflation and a weak economy, signaling ongoing instability • Unsophisticated criminals with easy access to phishing tools may increase cybercrime • The power of drones to be used a weapon is much higher than people realize • Organizations give low priority to cyber investigations, acting tactically instead of strategically • OSINT provides more pieces for putting the puzzles together. Nico Dekens teaches OSINT methodology, critical thinking, proper intelligence analysis, and how to interpret large datasets. For tools to help you apply some of the “pinch” techniques mentioned in the podcast, check out Spotter by ShadowDragon. You can also find other great cyber investigative tools and training from ShadowDragon. Join us for more thought-provoking episodes and conversations with experts from within the OSINT world. Special Guest: Nico "Dutch Osint Guy".


S01 E08: Exploring OSINT, War Stories & OSINT with (Nico Dekens) Dutch_OSINTguy

Nico shares his origin story along with war stories old, and new. Topics the following: * Leadership seems to want visualization, analyst don't care. Discussions evolve about how heat maps/crap maps may or may not be relevant. * Geographical visualization helps with different types of investigations. * Mapping Tactical Data is useful, timelines are helpful with pruning as well as mapping money laundering while other types of data fall short. Special Guest: Nico "Dutch Osint Guy".


S01 E07: Charl van der Walt on red team vs blue team, history, threat intelligence, infosec rockstars, and striving for excellence.

Red team versus blue team. All should become a purple team!! Searching for a way around the rockstar mentality all too common within the infosec industry, as the proposal to build a team of teams is announced. Deception technology mixed with an actual true cost analysis of threat intelligence lending questionable returns. The roller coaster of topics reaches a pinnacle with a reflection on being allocentric within the security industry versus viewing security solely through the lens of industry growth. Topics include: * Charl shares his history, growth, and maturity within the industry. * Red team vs. blue team, and how everyone should be a purple team. * Deception technology, honeypots, forensics, and storytelling with data. * Getting around the rockstar mentality within infosec, and teamwork produces a higher ROI. * Demystifying the value of threat intelligence. Notable Quotes: "Think about what you do as something that matters and approach it in that way and the rest will follow." - Charl van der Walt Special shout outs to: * Haroon Meer (https://linkedin.com/in/haroonmeer) from Thinkst (https://www.thinkst.com) * Roelof Temmingh (https://linkedin.com/in/roeloftemmingh) from Vortimo (https://www.vortimo.com/). Special Guest: Charl van der Walt.


S01 E06: Blake Butler Interview - Intel CTF, Hacking Back, Actor Engagement & Synthetic Identities in the Cognitive Warfare Landscape

Actor engagement, and physical security intersect when active shooter situations or heightened security threats are targeted against executives or physical locations. Naturally, the topic of hack-back arises but this takes us down the rabbit trails of the roles synthetic identities play in the cognitive landscape, actor engagement and experiences found only in the trenches. Blake Butler from Paypal joins us in exploring very specific topics that are not discussed enough. Topics include: * Using OSINT, and Targeting in Active Shooter or physical security situations. * Hack back or Long Term Investigations * Actor engagement is a must for gleaning better intelligence. This isn't hack back, but to non-technical folks it sounds like hackback. Clarification is needed. * Cognitive Warfare landscape coupled with Synthetic Identities. Special Guest: Blake Butler.


S01 E05: Matt Devost Interview -Disinformation Attacks Against Institutions of Trust, Turing Assessments for Datasets, Exploration of Red Teaming Innovation

Risk management strategies that work are hard to find in such a noisy infosec buzzword filled industry. Our guest Matt Devost, offers perspective on subjects which will be helpful for beginners, advisors or CISO's. We cover some of the following items: * AI & Turing Integrity Assessments * Risk Management strategies that work. * Historical reference points to the beginnings of the threat intelligence industry. * Similarities between an evolving TI landscape, and red teaming over the last 20 years. * Where bad threat intelligence can take you. * Insider threats are always constant. * Context and discussion on disinformation. "Here are the threat actors that likely to target you, here are the goals that they are trying to achieve, here are the attack surfaces that presented themselves, here is the outcome we could achieve, here is the mitigation strategy. Metrics and measurement matter, but strategic outcomes must be pursued. Risk management should always focus on time to detection.".... (Paraphrased from Matt Devost) Matt Devost was one of the first white hat hackers to bridge the gap between the top-secret / national security circles and the hacker world. He was one of the few to have a masters degree in political science with a focus on national security, while also having the skills to attack and defend. He has been renowned as one of the few that had a world of "first's" within the industry. Matt was one of the first pulled into the United States Presidential commission on critical infrastructure protection in the 90s. The Presidential commission had a significant focus on cyber risks associated with the United States' critical infrastructure. Something that affects most of our careers in one way or another today. Special Guest: Matt Devost.


S01 E04: Covid19 Conversation and Observations

In our podcast, we aren’t always the experts in all of the topics at hand, but we know where to get experts and have candid conversations. Standard Disclaimer The intent is to explore information around this topic. This episode is long, and we will get a bibliography put together. In no way should the questions fan the flame of conspiracies, fear or panic. The information discussed are opinions and dialogue. Please verify the information or theories shared on your own time. The doctor Interviewed had requested to not publish his identity in this piece. We respect that and hope you will as well.


S01 E03: Incident Response, Long Time Investigations Need Story Telling & Innovation in Event Query Languages.

The hack of old Zack Payton describes his role in pushing the boundaries of incident response, threat hunting and scaling up SOC teams and MSSPs with the innovations Westward.AI is pushing. Mr. Payton spent years providing in the trench incident response, reversing, exploit development and so much more. Special mentions to the following: @insanitybit grapl project: https://github.com/insanitybit/grapl @rw_access Ross Wolf designer of EQL https://github.com/endgameinc/eql @Cyb3rWard0g Roberto Rodriguez Inventor of Mordor, HELK, and OSSEM https://github.com/hunters-forge/mordor https://github.com/hunters-forge/OSSEM https://github.com/Cyb3rWard0g/HELK @john_threat - making memory thieves Special Guest: Zack Payton.


S01 E02: Cyber Cyber Bang Bang - Attacks Exploiting Risks within the Physical and Cyber Universe. Poor Security can get someone killed.

Truly Advanced Persistent attacks where physical exploitation and even death are rarely discussed. We cover some of this along with security within the Healthcare and Government space. Security Within Healthcare and government is always hard. Tensions between information security and the business make this harder. Hospitals hit in fall of 2019 had a taste of exploitation. Similarly, state governments have had issues with cartel related attackers. CISO's that enable assessment, and security design around systems that cannot be fully hardened can kill two birds with one stone. Weighing authority versus influence, FDA approved equipment, 0day discovery within applications. Designing security around systems is a must when unpatchable vulnerabilities exist.


S01 E01: You offer forensics and you don't have a CSI room?

*A variety of topics are covered in this episode. * * Candor on the Infosec industry. * VC Trends & Startup trends. * Tools vs. Process. * Brian Dykstra, shares some of the high's and low's after doing forensics for the last 24 years. * If you don't have a CSI room while doing forensics, you are totally lame. * Hotness with getting 500g/sec on forensic image acquisition. * Evaluating Sandbox technologies in use. What is hot or not. ThreatGrid, Joe's Sandbox, or bare metal. Dan's Inbox review: * Casemanagement vs. Target centric analysis. * Alternatives to Maltego, pros/cons. Tools mentioned Kaseware, Kivutech, Datawalk, i2, etc. * Vc's falling into "Platform" trap, versus understanding data sales market.