Top 20 OSINT Tools For Every Ethical Hacking Beginner

When you perform a penetration test, it is very important to know tit-bits about your target. Be it a person, a company or an organization, knowing every aspect of their online activity is integral to a targeted attack. But searching and getting hold of the desired information from so much that already exists is definitely not easy. 

Worried about how you will do it? You have come to the right place. This article deals with OSINT( the master word of the article), OSINT tools, how they can help you in cybersecurity and some popular OSINT tools. 

By the end of this article, you will certainly know how seamless the information gathering process has become because of these tools. 

What is OSINT

As it is visible OSINT is an acronym which stands for Open Source Intelligence. To explain in brief, it is nothing but any information that is collected about people or organizations. Needless to say, the collection procedure should be legal. OSINT has under its canopy information collected from all sources. Yes, practically all sources. Though the chief source of intelligence has been the internet in this decade, details gathered from reports, books, articles also fall into this category.

Wondering what type of information falls under it? Well, OSINT is not only about texts, but it also takes into consideration pretty much everything. Information in the form of videos, images, public speeches is all a part of it. 

Why do we need an OSINT tool?

Since we now know what OSINT is, it’s absolutely natural to ponder over how to pick the required detail from this giant sea of information. Undoubtedly it appears cumbersome. So to ease the process, OSINT tools have come into existence. 

The Open-Source Intelligence Tools are integrated with a number of websites. This allows users to find out the information needed from the websites displayed which are relevant to their search. This saves a lot of your precious time and frees you from the burden of remembering everything. All the information is eternally stored. You can get back to them, whenever you like. 

How to use OSINT tools in Cyber Security?

We have discussed OSINT and the crucial role OSINT tools play in dragging you towards the right kind of information. But how exactly do you harness the OSINT tools if you are into the cybersecurity sector? What should you lookup for? 

Read a bit more to find out what your grounds of attention should be.

To Find Out Undisclosed Public Resources:
Public assets are ubiquitous. But there is a lot which is unrevealed and those can be potential threats. Therefore, while you are collecting information, make sure to list down all the services you use and map out your online infrastructure. Remember, unauthorized attackers, practice the same. Therefore keep your information background strong, so that you can strengthen the cybersecurity defense or else you can be victims of those attacks. 

Identify Critical Data Outside Your Company’s Public Surface:
When you avail SaaS services and especially while working with 3rd or 4th party related services, there is a possibility that your data isn’t available on your company’s public surface and is stored at a different place. Moreover, mergers and acquisitions are issues to be looked into, ignoring which parent company can remain at high risk of attacks. OSINT Tools play a very important role during cybersecurity auditing against mergers and acquisitions.

Construct Useful Plans Based on the Critical Data:
After you collect all the information using the OSINT tools, the time comes to group them into forming effective plans. The data will basically form a base on which you need to work. Questioning the utility of the open ports or who is entitled to update the software that is outdated might help you construct the right plans that you can use to get tangible results.

We do not want to keep you waiting anymore. Since you have all the prerequisites, let’s dive into the next section of the article, where we will explore the 20 most popular OSINT tools.

Top 20 OSINT Tools

Google Dorks:
The primary focus is to search web pages. The Google Dorks query can be used to conduct advanced research. The information revealed to you is certain to amaze you. You can find information about the limited reach and very sensitive details like usernames, passwords, lists of email ids and unprotected websites or system’s.

The name is derived from reconnaissance as it can help in gathering information through open-source, web-based investigations. The tool is stuffed with a number of modules like reporting, discovery, import etc. which assist in the data gathering process.

LinkedIn is a tip of the tongue tool when it comes to finding information regarding the employees. Linkedin allows you to know the inside story of a company. Delving deep into the profiles of the employees you can get hold of the job roles, the software and the technologies used by their companies.

Wappalyzer Plugin:
This is a tool that you can use to find out which website uses what technology. Vulnerable technologies are used by a lot of companies. This provides easy access to hackers. Using this tool, you can find out the structure of the website and also detect the vulnerabilities.

CT and Sublist3R:
If you want to keep a track of all the subdomains of your website, then these tools can be favourable choices. Using these tools, you can enumerate the subdomains of your target website and thus keep a check on cyberattacks.

Certificate Transparency(CT):
This allows you to look up for all the SSL/TLS certificates released for your company and spot the vulnerable domains.

This is a python tool that utilizes other search engines like Google, Yahoo etc. to generate subdomains of websites. This enables hackers to identify vulnerable domains.

The Harvester:
This tool makes discovering emails of employees easy. In Linux, you can find it pre-installed. By the use of a number of data sources, it collects emails, URLs, subdomains etc.

This tool helps users to know every bit about a domain. You can find out all about your target website with the help of this. Information like the creation date, expiration date, date of update and other technical details can be accessed.

It is easy to guess from the name that this is used to obtain DNS information. It is a Python script that catalogues DNS records such as SOA, SRV etc. Besides these, Google lookup, checking for zone transfers, reverse lookup, cache snooping can also be handled by the tool.

WayBack Machine:
Do you remember the time machine which takes us to our past life? Yes, the Wayback machine is also the same for websites which helps us to see how the web pages used to look in the past as what technologies used in it and how it was designed initially and improved gradually.

Webpages are updated very frequently but there is every possibility of the old web pages functioning along with. They might use technologies which are outdated and consequently become vulnerable. To find out those old web pages Wayback Machine is the best tool.

You can easily make out what it does from the way it’s pronounced. This helps you get hold of every detail about a person. Information like phone numbers, usernames, emails can be unearthed. They can play a vital role in creating a profile and listing the possible password’s.

This tool makes you feel like the master of all. Not only websites, but you can also have access to information from any device that is connected to the internet. Be it webcams, smart TVs, power plants, security systems, you can dig up details from pretty much everything.

The tool is based on Java script and comes pre-installed in Kali Linux. This allows you to find out information from different sources about the target. By means of some built-in steps, the results can be represented in the form of graphs as well.

This tool provides assistance to penetration testers in gathering information. They can find out metadata of the public documents of the organizations they have targeted. Using the tool you can search for the record, report the result and perform local downloads.

Written in Python language, this tool is available in Windows and Linux. It helps to gather information like web servers, netblocks, e-mails and a lot of others. Besides, with SpiderFoot you will continuously be warned about vulnerabilities, data leaks and other such crucial information.

OSINT Framework:
This tool uses other search engines, tools and resources to collect information. It was initially designed to aim at IT security. But now it also focuses on providing data. The websites it queries information from, are usually free, but for some, you might have to spend a bit.

Have I been pwned:
This tool allows you to know about previous unauthorized access into your accounts. All you have to do is enter your email address and wait for the results to show up. It uses reputed websites like Gmail, LinkedIn etc to track the account compromises.

About any device connected to the internet, this search engine will give you all the details. Irrespective of the server they run, full details of 80 and 443 ports can be extracted. Moreover, information on SSL chains and WHOIS can also be accessed.

When you are looking up for technical details of your website, BuiltWith can be a good pick. It will let you know which technology is used by which website. Besides, it also keeps you updated on the technology that is on-trend at presents.

Nmap is short for network mapper. It is used for network exploration and security auditing. Some of its notable features are host detection, port detection, OS detection, version detection. It is an open-source utility and free tools.

It derives open-source intelligence data. Data can be extracted from audio, video and image files. Metadata can be extracted from different types of files like EXIF, GPF, XMP etc. You can find out on Windows, Linux, macOS.


Hopefully, this article has provided you with the foundational knowledge of OSINT and OSINT tools. There are a lot more. These are but a few popular ones. Set no boundaries. Explore as many as you can and be equipped with all the possible information about your target. Resources aren’t limited. To leverage them is your responsibility. 

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