How to land an OSINT job

“Hey! Do you know where I can find an OSINT related job?”

This is a question The OSINT Curious Project members get quite often. The answer is yes we do! And in this blog we want to give you some advice on where to look for those type of jobs.

Do you need OSINT experience?

You might think that you need to be technically advanced, trained or educated to do these kind of jobs. This is not always the case; it can be a big advantage that you have a slightly different background! A background in teaching might be a big advantage when working in law enforcement, where it’s very important to clearly explain to a judge how you did a certain investigation. Or a background in psychology might be helpful when doing OSINT research for a red teaming assignment.

Although some vacancies might ask a certain level of education, sometimes you can proof you have that level by doing an assessment or IQ test. So don’t think you’re unable to land yourself an OSINT job, just because you might have no tech degree of some sort.

What is your experience when it comes to OSINT? Are you just starting? Or are you doing this on a daily or weekly basis? If you’re just starting in this field, we suggest that you get some experience. This can simply be done by starting to read some books, follow some folks on Twitter or read up on the osint.team Rocket chat, play the geolocation quiz on Twitter or try the sourcing.games to see how far you come. Or check our amazing introduction video on OSINT!
Doing OSINT on a daily/weekly basis? Well then continue to read further 🙂

OSINT in different sectors

There are a LOT of jobs that have an OSINT component to them, but in the vacancy they might not use the word “OSINT”. Sometimes because they simply don’t know that what they’re asking of you is OSINT related or sometimes because they use a different word to describe what you may call OSINT (e.g. recruiters call doing online research ‘sourcing’). So keep in mind that simply Googling for ‘osint jobs’ might not get you the vacancy you’re looking for.

You’ll have to decide in what kind of field you’d like to work. Make a decision between working for the public (government/law enforcement) or private (security firms/banks/journalism/etc.). This might help you down narrowing your search. After making this decision it’s time to look at the kind of sector you’d like to work in.

Below we’ve described a couple of sectors where you could find OSINT related jobs. Of course, always keep in mind that in your native language job titles and/or descriptions can be different from the English ones we’re describing here, but maybe it will inspire you to find just that one perfect job 🙂

Finance & Accounting

Like to trace down where money went? Or maybe interested in digging into background of directors, companies and foundations? Maybe working as an Anti Money Laundering Investigator (also shortened as ‘AML’) might be interesting. Those jobs are mainly with private companies, but don’t forget the public sector does the same kind of investigations.

Most banks and other financial companies want (or are obligated) to know about their costumers these days. Doing background checks are necessary and you can’t do background checks without checking out the internet. So jobs in Customer Due Diligence (CDD) or Know Your Customer (KYC) might be something you want to check out.

And also don’t forget about people who might be committing fraud. As a Fraud Investigator or Insurance Investigator, working for an insurance company as an example, you might have to research someone online to see if he might be swindling the insurance company.

The same goes for Debt Collectors. They might have to see if a company might have continued under a new name or check to see if a person with a large debt might be living ‘La Vida Loca’ at a tropical island.

Like the legal side too? Then maybe Brand Protection can be something you could be interested in. You could be searching for an illegal webshop selling fake shoes or bags and your job would be to trace down this person behind the webshop.

Tech

The technology sector has multiple area’s that might be interesting.

Think about Computer Forensics; this could be working with hardware, but also with software! Finding a username in a used phone to trace down an owner, reverse engineer a piece of malware or taking a look at the infrastructure of a hosting company, might me some of the tasks you could do. Although in this field a degree or a certain level of experience might be necessary.

Then there are Blue Team (who are defending) and Red Team (who are attacking) jobs. Both fields might require you to do some OSINT. Blue teaming (e.g. can someone find the personal details of my boss online easily?) or Red teaming (e.g. can I find pictures of employee badges online in order to replicate them?)

Companies who want to make sure that they are protected against any cyber threats might be looking for a Cyber Threat Analyst (or Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI)). Monitoring if leaked data breaches might contain information about the company or the employees, if there are vulnerabilities that might be exploited to enter the company servers or maybe if any secret/patented information is being sold somewhere online, might be some of your tasks.

Journalism/media

Now a days news stories can be covered without even entering the area where something has happend. The covering of the crash of plain MH-17 by Bellingcat, the covering of the execution of women and children in Cameroon by BBC Africa or the #EUarms project by Lighthouse Reports are just a couple of examples.

‘Old’ media like newspapers and television are relaying more and more on Open Source data in order to find new stories or to fact check their stories. If this is something you’d like to be a part of, try to look for jobs with titles like Data Journalism, Editorial Researcher, Visual Investigator or Fact Checker/Verification.

People

Ever thought about how recruiters found you on LinkedIn? Exactly; they did some research too. Most recruiters (‘sourcers’ or human resources) are very good at finding people. So working in recruitment might be a cool challenge for you too! Think about scraping Meetup.com and LinkedIn groups in order to find that one perfect candidate with a certain degree and who attends meetups about Javascript in a certain area.

A couple of other professions focused on finding people are Bounty hunters/skip tracers, Private Investigators, Business/corporate investigators,

Public sector

Most of the jobs described above might be jobs you could also find within the public sector (government/law enforcement/military/etc). Think about doing financial research to see if someone might be committing bankruptcy fraud, reverse engineer malware to find a cyber criminal, monitoring online to see if someone is talking about committing an attack on people of a certain religion, searching for illegal webshops that sell narcotics on the Dark web, doing an analysis on someone’s social media friends to find that one missing link in a criminal gang, etcetera.
Although, when doing these jobs within the public sector, this sometimes restrict you from talking about your job/investigation. When you think you might struggle with this, the public sector might be not your cup of tea.
Words you could use to search for these kind of jobs might be something like ‘surveillance’, ‘detective’, ‘criminal investigator’, ‘digital forensics’, ‘threat intelligence/analyst’, ‘internet investigator/expert’, ‘crime analyst’, ‘cyber investigative analyst’ and ‘cyber crime investigator’.

Advice from a recruiter

Jan Tegze is a recruiter (sourcer) who uses a various range of OSINT techniques to find candidates. He has some advice for you too:

Referrals are the most effective source of candidates for many companies. I am sure that many OSINT people have friends working for some cool companies, so my recommendation will be to reach some of those friends and tell them that you are available on the market.

Many companies that are looking for people with OSINT experience even that are not hiring could be able to open the role if they find an interesting candidate. That’s why it is always good to reach out to the recruiter and ask him/her if they are not looking for somebody with your experience.

If you have an LinkedIn profile you can turn on this option https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/67405?lang=en and you can let recruiters know. Your employer will not see it, but if you work for company A, and that company is connected with B, those recruiters can see that you are open.

Jan Tegze, Recruiter/Sourcer

Happy job hunting!

Maybe there are some jobs mentioned above which you haven’t thought about yet. Hopefully this will inspire you to go and search for that one job that suits you perfectly!

And if we’ve missed a job title/description, you’ve got another question or some advice for our readers, please leave a comment below or use the hashtag #OSINTcurious on Twitter!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.