A Wellington system administrator has developed a tool to identify corporate secrets, hacked data and even stolen credit cards as they emerge on social networks and online clipboards.
Users could set the OSINT OPSEC (Open Source Intelligence / Operational Security) Tool to monitor for keywords, allowing, for example, an organisation to be alerted if a hacking group dumped its sensitive data to clipboard site Pastebin.
Or it could scour Stack Exchange for intellectual property code snippets, use Twitter to track the whereabouts of politicians in warzones, or check Reddit, Facebook and Wordpress to avert potential PR disasters.
Blackhats, too, could benefit from the OSINT OPSEC Tool. However author Brendan 'Hyprwired' Jamieson, 21, said it was made to assist users with defence and operational awareness.
"Right now, a whole lot of people are leaking a whole lot of information online," Jamieson told Kiwicon 6 delegates. "Here we have a full US passport, all the serials, date of birth, names, etcetera is all there."
"In 2009, a congressman tweeted 'just landed in Baghdad' and 'moved into green zone by helicopter just over the palace heading to the US embassy' - and if someone was watching this, it could have serious consequences."
He found staff tweets leaking news of then-incomplete corporate mergers and intellectual property published on public forums.
It could also geo-locate tweets using Google Maps to assist with OSINT investigations.
Existing services like Google Alerts and API (application programmable interface) search tools were insufficient because they were slow or could not search for keywords on the spread of social media.
Jamieson built the Python tool -- and a new love of the language -- in less than 12 weeks, complete with a shiny GUI and point-and-click functionality.
Critically, it was released as open source via GitHub so users search requests remained hidden.
The OSINT OPSEC Tool plugged into an API to quickly search through data on Twitter, Facebook and Wordpress.
But it had to download full posts to scrape Pastebin. When it rummaged through old posts, the repeat downloads resulted in a momentary block by the site. This could be solved by changing IP addresses via another daemon on a separate site.
"The real key to maintain good OPSEC is to STFU," Jamieson said.