Frequently Asked Questions

What is different about this course?

This distinguishing feature of this course is that it was designed for investigators - those who need to search more aggressively and use information more carefully than the general public.

Why bother with the Internet?

The Internet consists of over ten billion pages of information yet many investigators make only superficial use of this amazing resource.

What is different about the way investigators use the Internet?

There are three key differences. Investigators:
  1. look for specific kinds of information (usually background on people and companies);
  2. research to a greater depth; and
  3. are more critical of what they find (they rarely accept something at face value).
If the general public surfs, investigators scuba dive.

Is the Internet the answer to every investigator's dreams?

No, the Internet is a means to an end. For investigators it is primarily an aid to finding people who might have worthwhile information.

What does this course try to accomplish?

The intention of this course is to turn those who already have some computer & Internet experience into power users of the Internet and to reveal how the Internet can augment their traditional investigative methodology. It covers not only technical issues, but includes how to formulate good search strategies and how to make sense of the results.

Are all the answers on the Internet?

No, they aren't.  Internet search engines are just the beginning.  Open source information includes commercial databases, public records, company documents, trade publications, court records, newsletters, analyst reports, academic studies and the Internet.   Today's investigator should be familiar with as many information sources as possible.

How can Open Source information (OSINT) help an investigator?

Open sources augment the information collected by traditional methods.   They can reveal new relationships between parties and provide context to an investigation.

Is this course only about digging up information?

No, it is also about organizing and using the information you find. It introduces tools and techniques used by crime analysts and corporate intelligence gatherers to validate, authenticate, and analyze information so that maximum value is obtained.

The course also demonstrates how the 'Net can be used creatively and proactively.

Why should I take this course?

Using open source information for investigations is only cost-effective if it is gathered efficiently and used effectively.  This course is intended to help investigators become more productive in their use of the Internet.

What is the bottom line?

Increasingly, the Internet is a cost-effective resource investigators cannot afford to ignore.