How can you identify social media accounts through the “suggested friends” function? A practical guide from Authentic8 for OSINT researchers shows the steps.
The new Flash Report provides a hands-on introduction to Using Genymotion’s Android Virtual Machine and Email Addresses for Social Media Account Discovery (title). The accounts discovered this way on social networks can then be used for further Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) collection and ultimately incorporated into targeting and pattern of life analysis.
Genymotion describes itself as a “Android as a Service” provider. It enables users to run Android as a virtual machine in the cloud, to create virtual mobile devices and fully interact with their screen in a web browser (no plugin needed).
This way, OSINT professionals enjoy Android device access on the fly, without the complexity of managing the infrastructure by themselves. Many of them already leverage web isolation and managed attribution with the Silo for Research (Toolbox) browsing environment to protect their mission while working with a wide variety of OSINT tools and web apps.
Our short manual guides researchers and investigators quickly through five main steps:
- Prepare a previously discovered email list for further research.
- Set up a “burner” email account and dummy contact associated with that account.
- Export the contact and use the resulting CSV file as a template for importing the email list into the same account.
- Import the list into the burner email account.
- Create a Genymotion account and fire up an Android VM. Then install the email and contacts app on the VM instance, using the burner account, and install the social media apps to sync with the initial email list.
Virtual Android device access on the fly: OSINT with Genymotion
For the illustrated Flash Report, our OSINT specialists used an Instagram account as the example, created in an VM instance with a burner Gmail address.
Because Google Contacts was synced with the device, Instagram was able to cross-reference the uploaded emails from Google Contacts with active Instagram accounts. This same process works with other major social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter.