The OSINT (open-source intelligence) expert groups have played an important role since the first days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Thanks to analysts’ activity, it was possible to quickly reveal the fog of war, which Moscow was counting on.
Moscow hoped to hide its war crimes and intensify the panic mood both in Ukraine itself and abroad. All steps taken by the Russian regime aimed to isolate the battlefield from communication with the outside world: strikes repeaters and communication nodes, hacker attacks on mass media, and state websites. The interventionists expected to control information and carry out manipulation fully, including quickly suppressing the resistance of the civilian, but nothing went as planned.
OSINT intelligence activities, also known as “white intelligence”, are conducted based on open and widely available sources i.e. analysis of journalism and social media coverage to gain a clear and up-to-date picture of what is unfolding in the troubled territories.
OSINT analysts quickly and successfully began analyzing the large amount of information found in public sources, such as geolocation, local broadcast and footage released on social media, disclosing egregious Russian actions and dispelling Kremlin reports.
The war in Ukraine showed that OSINT has been instrumental in undermining Russia’s political strategy in Ukraine.
For example, the team of the well-known Ukrainian OSINT community, the DeepState UA, monitors the social networks and public channels of Russians 24/7 and brings everything together in a single information base. Their experts have created an interactive map used even by officials, including the Minister of Defense of Ukraine.
#UAarmy’s autumn offensive, day by day. While the “russian parliament” is intoxicated from the futile attempts at annexation, our soldiers continue moving forward.
This is the best answer to any and all “referenda”, “decrees”, “treaties” and pathetic speeches. pic.twitter.com/qLCBu0Vdns
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) October 5, 2022
Their work makes it possible to quickly debunk the false propaganda of Russian television about the moves of Russian troops or refute outright fakes by Russian special services.
“Our team processes all this. For example, if there is a video or photo, we process it in terms of geolocation – where the enemy is, whether it is really true or not, whether it is fake, we check it with map data, where they move, and this is how all this very big work is done,” explained Roman Pogorelyi, co-founder of Deep State.
The interactive map from the DeepStateUA team allows you to monitor the situation with the occupied and liberated territories and offers a number of other features. Moderators record data according to official reports and use OSINT methods to monitor changes.
The project team is funded solely by donations and the support of ordinary people. By the way, you can also join them here.
Of course, the main advantage of the open source intelligence is the speed of information acquisition, including quantity, quality and transparency, variety, ease of use and low cost of analysis.
Ukrainians received operational information about the movement of Russians, about their losses and the territories they occupied. Even more, thanks to the analysis of the Russian segment of the Internet, it was possible to identify the logistics bases and barracks of the Russians, which were subsequently destroyed by the Ukrainian army.
Today we can confidently say that OSINT is one of the means by which security for the state.