When searching for images use some common sense and advanced search tools if available. Remember you can jump in time, search for faces or photos, search by color or limit your search to top-level/country domains or websites. Use a translator and try searching in other languages too.
twipho and twicsy search media posted on twitter based on geolocation, Worldcam searches Instagram by location. cree.py is a geolocation OSINT tool. Offers geolocation information gathering through social networking platforms.
Use the Location Guard Browser Extension to fake your location (set to fixed location) in order to get media from the region of interest.
Do your research to find image databases and forums based on your area of interest. To mention only a few examples:
As you might imagine high-resolution photos of control-rooms, cctv, desks, whiteboards, phones, screens, license plates, faces can reveal interesting information. Have a look at what you can find when you know what to search for:
You can use reverse search to double check images before you believe that they are current or even relevant to the story they are attached to.
Good tutorials on reverse image search are “Manual reverse image search with Google and TinEye” and “Reverse image search for anime and manga”.
A list of relevant sites and tools:
Another method is to open the page information menu (small information-icon next to URL in Firefox), expand the panel, click on more Information and download through the Media tab. Both methods work on ‘protected’ flickr photos:
Pay attention to filenames and directories, the URL often reveals where the high-resolution images are. A filename like
image-640x480.jpg may indicate that there is an image with higher resolution like
Get ‘em all
If you need to download many images and you can’t go one by one, you’ll need to scrape or crawl. Web-Scraping is a topic too broad to be covered in detail here, but here are some basics to get you started:
Web Scrapers are tools designed to extract / gather data in a website via crawling engine usually made in Java, Python, Ruby and other programming languages.Web Scrapers are also called as Web Data Extractor, Data Harvester , Crawler and so on which most of them are web-based or can be installed in local desktops.
A Guide to Web Scraping Tools, Gareth James
I’d suggest to learn the basic syntaxt of
wget so you can start mass-downloading images. Here is an example:
$ wget -nd -r -P /save/location -A jpeg,jpg,bmp,gif,png http://www.domain.com
A more advanced bash script that scrapes images from a list of urls with wget: wget images scraper
As sites grow larger and more dynamic you need more sophisticated tools. HTTrack is pretty simple to use and comes with a lot of options (proxy, custom browser agents, timeouts, limits, file inclusion/exclusion, …).
When it comes to community sites like tumblr or instagram you often need custom made scripts or developer account to connect to their API:
Image analysis is the extraction of meaningful information from images; mainly from digital images by means of digital image processing techniques. Image analysis tasks can be as simple as reading bar coded tags or as sophisticated as identifying a person from their face.
Image Analysis, Wikipedia
Not going to cover how to analyze the visual content of images, since there is already a lot of information out there. Read this short piece on “Analyzing Images as Text Instructions” focusing on war photography and the S-P-A-T-E-R (Subject, Purpose, Audience, Tone, Effect, Rhetorical Devices/Strategies) method for analyzing visual media.
Without going too deep into forensic analysis, it should be known by now that images contain tons of information also known as metadata. The most basic tool to extract metadata is probably Jeffrey’s Image Metadata Viewer. Just upload your image to the website and view the results.
A more advanced tool with dozens of features (Metadata extraction, GPS Localization, Mime Information, Error Level Analysis, Hash Matching, …) and a fancy interface is Ghiro.
Recommended Read: MetaUseful & MetaCreepy (Bellingcat)
Every eyewitness photo and video will contain visual clues that can help with verification. Learn more about what they are and how to find them:
How to verify images like a pro with Google Earth
Piecing together visual clues for verification