26 September 2016 at 10:17 am Written by

Jargon busting

Just what is going on in the world of Open Source Internet Investigations? I have seen more jargon, abbreviations and acronyms in the past few months than you can shake a stick at. Is this ‘The Emperor’s new clothes or attempts by some working in this field to further mystify what is electronic (or digital) research?

I’ve been a trainer for quite some time now so feel qualified to offer an opinion. Personally I love the KISS principle. Yes, I know it’s also an acronym, but Keep It Simple Stupid has worked for me for years. I find that delegates don’t want, or need, techno-babble. It’s the trainers job to translate stuff into English (or whatever language your delegates speak).

So here is just a selection of the ones I really take issue with.  Some of this is a little ‘tongue in cheek’. But I do have concerns that another language is being created just to wrap up existing concepts and techniques to make them look different, when they’re really not.

Digital wild fires – lots and lots of posts on social media about ‘things’

Geo-fencing – drawing a shape around a location and looking at what people are posting on social media.

OSINT – Open Source Intelligence, one of my pet hates. In the world of intelligence ‘Open Source’ is free stuff for the most part. You get lots of free stuff on the Internet but that doesn’t make it intelligence per se.

If you are sold or attend an Open Source Internet Investigations course where you are told researching stuff online constitutes making it intelligence there’s a rather large chunk missing.

What you find during your online searches is actually ‘information’ and only becomes ‘intelligence’ when it goes through a process. In the process you have to perform tasks such as collation (organising your stuff) evaluating (assessing its credibility) and analysing it (establishing the who, what, where, why, when, how stuff). 

SOCMINT – Social Media Intelligence, no one can surely argue that social media amounts to intelligence, without some form of process, or can they?

Cyber psychology – The effects of technology on our brains?

I’ve lots of respect for my fellow trainers but let’s start talking plain English and stop trying to con people into believing this is some form of magic. It’s not rocket science and it’s relatively simple until you make it appear complicated. Why would any good trainer want to do that?

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