Iran has been known to possess a robust cyber operations capability, with a focus on using open-source intelligence (OSINT) for various purposes such as espionage, cybercrime, and information warfare. In this post, we will take a closer look at the role of OSINT in Iran’s cyber operations and the various techniques and tools used by Iranian state-sponsored actors.
## What is Open-Source Intelligence?
Open-source intelligence (OSINT) refers to the collection and analysis of information that is publicly available. This can include information found on social media, websites, news articles, and other publicly accessible sources. OSINT is often used in intelligence gathering, threat intelligence, and investigations, and is considered a vital component of any cyber operations program.
## Iran’s Use of OSINT
Iran has been known to use OSINT for various purposes, including espionage and cybercrime. In particular, Iranian state-sponsored actors have been known to use OSINT to target critical infrastructure and steal sensitive information from governments and private organizations.
One example of this was the discovery of a hacking campaign known as “OilRig” in 2016, which was found to be targeting government and private organizations in the Middle East. The group was found to be using OSINT techniques to gather information on their targets and to gain initial access to their networks.
Additionally, Iran has also been known to use OSINT for information warfare. The country has been known to use social media and other online platforms to spread disinformation and propaganda. The use of these techniques allows Iran to influence public opinion and shape the narrative in its favor.
## Tools and Techniques Used
Iranian state-sponsored actors have been known to use a variety of tools and techniques for their OSINT operations. These include:
- **Social media scraping:** Iranian actors have been known to use social media scraping tools to gather information on individuals and organizations from social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
- **Phishing:** Iranian actors have also been known to use phishing techniques to gain access to sensitive information. This can include sending emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or government agency, and asking for login credentials or personal information.
- **Web scraping:** Iranian actors have been known to use web scraping tools to gather information from websites. This can include information on individuals, organizations, and even entire industries.
- **Data breaches:** Iranian actors have also been known to use data breaches to gain access to sensitive information. This can include stealing login credentials or personal information from databases.
Iran has a robust cyber operations capability and has been known to use open-source intelligence (OSINT) for various purposes, such as espionage, cybercrime, and information warfare. The country’s state-sponsored actors use a variety of tools and techniques to gather information and gain access to sensitive data. It is important for organizations to be aware of these tactics and to implement proper security measures to protect against potential Iranian cyber threats.
- FireEye: APT34: Exposing an Elite Iranian Cyber-Espionage Group
- CrowdStrike: Iranian Cyber Espionage Campaigns
- [Symantec: Iranian Cyber Espionage Group Targeting Middle Eastern Energy Sector](https://www.sym