OSINT lessons 101 — Part 1 — Reverse image search and more

OSINT- Open Source Intelligence is utilizing publicaly available information for investigation purposes. It is not a new topic for journalists and investigative agencies, but for the common masses this may seem quite fascinating. With right knowledge of The internet and an eye for details could make you an expert in this field. Lately, fake news has become a concerning topic. As the number of internet users are surging, it has become easier for political parties, corporate industries & PR agencies to create and circulate fake news over almost all digital medium. General public can make use of search engines such as Google, DuckDuckGo to check whether the news on their social media feeds, WhatsApp forwards or their favorite news channels is credible or not! Today we’ll see how easy it is to Reverse Image Search any image.

Reverse image search

By doing so, the first result I got was TinEye, it could vary according to your browser and preferences, the notable mentions to reverse image search any image are, Google images, Yandex images etc. So now lets take an image and verify the authenticity of that image.

An image of Narendra Modi touching Sonia Gandhi’s feet.

If I do a reverse image search of the above image on Google images and Yandex images I got the following results.

Now you can see myriad of search results which are linking to different sources, if you are lucky enough, there’ll also be news articles which might have already debunked the false claim represented in the image. In our case, as you can see there are some news articles which shows that the claim is false. There is a caveat here. How can you be sure that the website that you are going to rely on is legit? Or what if it’s purpose is to mislead? Well, there are many aspects to it. If you belong to a specific region and if you are a religious follower of news and mass media, you’ll be aware of the sites or media outlets and their credibility. Even if you are not a news junkie, sometimes you could apply your common sense and think critically! But, we cannot base our judgement only on sheer intuition right? So again technology comes into our rescue. You can go to Alexa — Competitive Analysis, Marketing Mix, and Website Traffic, in order to check the internet traffic of your source website. It ranks websites based on some parameters such as, internet traffic, data analysis, SEO, popularity, credible sources etc. If you are looking for a quick result, you can also visit this link- https://www.rankwatch.com/free-tools/alexa-rank-checker.

Let’s come back to our fact check, by reverse image search I was able to find the original image.

Photo from Sep 26, 2013

This image was taken in 2013 and it was morphed and circulated over the internet in around April 2019! You can also check the timeline that when this fake image was trending if you visit Google trends.

Above are some results that I got from Google trends. Social media is a wild beast, you can also see some other morphed images in the following.

That’s all. Congratulations you’ve successfully debunked a fake news!

Sources

To make your workflow bit more easier, you can install these following addons.

Google Translate -This addon helps you to translate from one language to another.

Pro tip — In Yandex image search, you can easily translate text on images using recognise text and translate features.

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Amoghavarsha

Freelancer, writer, OSINT and cyber security enthusiast, geopolitics nut, movie buff, bibliophile, selective extrovert. https://amoghavarsha.in/