“OSINT Academy” – training course from Dmytro Zolotukhin

20 April 2023 5 minutes Author: Cyber Witcher


Intelligence based on open data was actively used even during the Second World War in Britain and the USA: special units monitored enemy broadcasts. Today, OSINT methods are used not only in foreign policy, intelligence, but also in the field of information security. OSINT (open-source intelligence, intelligence based on open data) – collection of information about a person or organization from open sources and its further analysis. The concepts of OSINT, recon, reconnaissance, intelligence and open source search are synonyms. It would seem that everyone knows how to use search engines, but at the same time, many different sources write huge articles and mind maps on how they search effectively on the Internet. It is worth noting that OSINT is a cyclical process: if we find any information, for example, a new IP address or a domain name, then for them we need to take the same steps to find them.

With the beginning of the active phase of hostilities against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, messages about fake news in various spheres of activity became commonplace for Russian regional and federal mass media. OSINT Academy is a project of the Institute of Post-Information Society with the support of the European Endowment for Democracy and the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine. It is dedicated to teaching methods of searching for information to debunk Russian propaganda fakes and reveal signs of corruption in Ukraine. It is also worth reminding that the “Osint Academy” project is an all-Ukrainian educational project on information retrieval and processing. Under the leadership of Dmytro Zolotukhin, this project was launched back in 2016 at the beginning of September. You can use the knowledge gained in this course both to debunk fakes and to find and deanonymize Russians participating in the war against Ukraine.


Many thanks from the hackyourmom team and community to Dmytro Zolotukhin for the opportunity to post and distribute these educational materials on our portal.

Lesson 1. How to search for information online.

In the introductory video, we talk about some techniques and operators of advanced search using search engines.

Lesson 2. Identifiers in search. How to use keywords.

In the second video, we talk about what the “identifiers” of the objects of your interest are. How to use keywords.

Lesson 3. “Invisible Internet” (invisible).

In this third educational video, you will learn about what the “invisible Internet” is and how information gets to it.

Lesson 4. What the site looks like from the inside.

The fourth video of the OSINT training course covers how to use open site folders and find pages and documents.

Lesson 5. Search operators and original documents.

In this video, we tell you how to find original documents and primary sources using search operators.

Lesson 6. Google image search to check the facts

In this video, we tell you how to use Google image search to check facts and get information.

Lesson 7. Geolocation of images and videos.

We talk about how to check the authenticity of graphic information and establish geolocation (shooting location) to prove the facts.

Lesson 8. Registers – sources of information.

This video is about an open digital registry for obtaining information about companies, organizations and institutions.

Lesson 9. Search in social networks.

Let’s get acquainted with interesting methods of searching for information in social networks. How to get information about a person from their social profiles?

Lesson 10. Search in the Unified State Register.

It briefly describes the work with the Unified State Register of Enterprises, Organizations and Institutions of Ukraine and the information contained in it.

Lesson 11. Search in the register of public organizations.

The video is dedicated to complex measures, regarding information verification and search in the register of public organizations registered in Ukraine.

Lesson 12. Search in various real estate registers.

This video talks about the possibility of obtaining open data on real estate and land as a sign of possible corruption and money obtained illegally.

Lesson 13. Search for data on securities issuing companies.

It is about the possibility of obtaining open data about companies that issue securities (joint-stock companies, financial companies and others), about companies that are participants in the stock market and companies that serve this market.

Lesson 14. Registers of court decisions.

This video talks about the use of registers of court decisions, taxpayers and databases of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Federal Tax Service to search for open information about legal entities and individuals. In particular, information about corporate conflicts.

Lesson 15. Finding data on public procurement and public finances.

Thanks to the video, you will get to know online platforms and projects that allow you to monitor state budget spending without leaving your desk. How to check the expenses of your ZHE, school or kindergarten?

Lesson 16. Finding data about candidates and politicians.

In this video, we show how to use various open data services in a complex, to collect information about a person who wants to win the trust of voters. Collection of information about a person or a politician.

Lesson 17. Search in Russian open sources.

Some resources and tools are shown that allow you to get information about Russian legal entities, about organizations, enterprises and institutions, as well as citizens of Russia.

Lesson 18. Search for data about offshores.

Describes how you can easily use OSINT-tools to get information about the real owners of Ukrainian companies hiding behind the screen of offshore companies.

Lesson 19. Data search from YOUCONTROL.

This video is devoted to the advantages of aggregators of state registers using the service as an example and how it can be used to obtain information about Ukrainian companies and much more.

Lesson 20. The future of OSINT techniques.

In the penultimate video of our course, we share our views on the most innovative and interesting cases in the field of OSINT in Ukraine and their development.

Lesson 21. OSINT planning your own trips.

In the bonus video of our course, we tell how online services and open data can be used to plan your own trips and expand your horizons.

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