Overcoming OSINT Investigation Challenges Through a ‘RESET’ Mindset

Not all open-source investigations yield positive results on the first try, in fact, at some point, it becomes apparent that some of these efforts are headed nowhere. A recent blog entry on OSINTCurio.us said that when the intelligence-gathering expedition is turning out to be a waste of time, researchers are well-advised to step back for a minute and then “RESET.”

Author Nico Dekens, vice president of a website dedicated to open-source intelligence, explained that RESET is an acronym for routine, emotions, sever, explore and think. He said these words should guide online sleuths on how to get stalled research projects up and running again.

The author said that researchers should not get stuck on their old routine. Instead, they should let it evolve along with the project at hand. He said researchers should keep an open mind, and be willing to approach the OSINT problem from a different angle. A fresh perspective is often enough to restart an investigation that has bogged-down.

OSINT researchers are also advised to master their emotions. This is especially true when the investigation hits a dead end. In these cases, frustration builds up and this inevitably leads to a loss of morale. A good researcher does not allow such negativity to get in the way of productivity.

Dekens added that in times when the research effort seems fruitless, the OSINT investigator must learn to temporarily sever himself/herself from the project. This is not the same as quitting. Instead, by stepping back for a while, the mind is allowed to regroup itself and focus is regained.

When the OSINT investigation hits a roadblock, it is often a good idea to explore other ways to attack the problem. Since OSINT gathering is a process of trial and error, investigators should, therefore, be bold enough to try new platforms, tools and methods in a bid to get positive results.

Lastly, when all else fails, Dekens tells investigators to think very hard. Using one’s brain instead of being completely dependent on technology often provides a needed fresh approach to the OSINT research problem. The author added that his RESET method is really all about a proper mindset.