Wondering how tech detectives track people using Open Source Intelligence and some Digital Forensics skills? Today I am gonna show a basic trick on how you can track a person, using an image they’re posting in social media.
In our example here, let us just say that someone is missing and suddenly posted a picture for no reason or you can say that someone is in debt to you and they’re keep on posting lots of picture in social media. Then for this, they posted in Twitter with an image below:
The next thing you can do is to save the picture and upload it on the image search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex and Tineye. In my example here, I will be using Bing because of its “visual search” capability. As you can see in the picture below, I can use this option to crop what is only relevant for me to find. In my case, I am thinking that the bridge with a tunnel is the relevant part since it may give me some related pictures that can help me in having an exact location.
You can adjust the crop of the visual search and you will see that the Related Contents in the right part is also changing real-time. Find the picture that matched our picture which has two tunnel openings with white color above the openings and a two separate bridge that has straight simple post.
Sometimes, if “visual search” is not within our side, you must delete the unnecessary items within the image in order to get a better result in reverse image search alone. One thing that you can use is is cleanup.pictures . The picture of ours will look like this afterwards:
Well, this is just an example of the cleanup, you can do better than this if you have a lot of time :)
After several minutes of changing the crop and crawling to each related content that matched our picture, I encountered this related image with a link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28577026@N02/3415760210/
(You really need a lot of patience most of the time.)
As you can see, we got some location information “Sizilien 444 Halaesa” and we can see that there are some related location result in Google Maps when we enter it:
This is not done yet. We need to know, see and validate the exact location of where that person took that picture. So let us click the man icon in the lower right of the Google Maps. This will help us view the maps like we’re just walking around the location.
Then after that, double click the blue lines that will appear in order for us to walk in the location. We can also maximize the map in the lower right in order for us to have an easier walk. And while walking, you can see the possible exact location of where the picture was taken:
Observe the picture above closely. The pyramid shape brown above the mountain could be the brown structure in the left of the original photo that we have. Then look closely in the maps. It has a location called “Piramide 38 Parallelo — Fiumara d’Arte”. No doubt that the pyramid above could be in this location from the word itself. To confirm this, let’s click in the maps the Piramide 38 Parallelo and observe closely the image.
As you can see in the image above, no doubt that this is the structure in the left side of the original photo that we have. Let us rotate our view to our back and let see if we can view the two separated bridge with a two opening tunnels:
As you can see, we nailed it.
For verification purposes, here’s the link of the exact location within the maps, (LOCATION).
Lesson? If you don’t want your location to be revealed, be aware of what you post on social media.
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