Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT): information and intelligence extracted from overt, publicly available sources: newspapers and magazines, radio and TV broadcasts, websites, virtual social networks, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, databases, public data, web-based satellite photography, professional and academic conferences.
Until the mid 1990s the potential of extracting effective, quick and cost-effective OSINT was very limited, expensive and not up-to-date. However, by now, with the growing and never ending capabilities of the internet, OSINT became available in every corner of the world; it became cost-effective with a better Return-on-Investment (ROI) than other methods, and it enables a quick adjustment to new tasks and challenges in any location and in any language.
OSINT is being used by everyone and by every sector. It is highly effective in the business, legal and law enforcement sector, since its sources and products are shareable and may be presented as exhibits in courts. In other sectors OSINT can save time, money and other resources and serve as the compass which directs the analysts to the point where they should begin their covert inquires. In many occasions, OSINT is being used to declassify information extracted by other means.