Internet Searches for Vetting, Investigations, and Open-Source Intelligence

By Edward J. Appel; Reviewed by Rich Petraitis

***** Internet Searches for Vetting, Investigations, and Open-Source Intelligence. By Edward J. Appel. CRC Press,; 320 pages; $69.95.

Edward J. Appel, CEO of iName­Check, has written a primer for today’s security professionals covering the ins and outs of Internet vetting, data mining, and intelligence gathering. Appel could have aptly titled the book, Going Beyond Google, since his work champions a wide range of techniques for using open source resources on the Web for investigative, intelligence, and research purposes.

Corporate intelligence and other research professionals will be pleased with the electronic methods provided within the text that will aid them in accomplishing their often challenging daily tasks. No doubt, corporate intelligence analysts will also find useful the specific information provided on how to build profiles on competitor firms and adversarial agents without breaking the law.

Among the strengths of this book are the chapters dedicated to Internet litigation and enterprise liability, areas that have become legal dynamite as more companies seek to use the Internet to vet new employees and to conduct investigations that concern existing employees. The author presents Model Internet Search Guidelines, which can serve as an excellent template for investigators, analysts, and researchers. Logical and legal approaches to Internet searches are stressed throughout the guidelines, and the reader is continually reminded that online information may not be accurate.

Another section of the book addresses cybercrime, from unauthorized use of computer systems to employees’ accessing pornography in the workplace. International cyberthreats are also discussed, including the risk of foreign governments attempting cyberespionage or cybersabotage.

On an optimistic note, Appel reminds his audience that whether a hacker is an amateur or a professional, all are human and make mistakes that can allow investigators to track them down. The investigator will prevail due to the “human factor” so long as the searcher is dogged and consistent in his or her approaches in identifying the hacker or malicious agency.
The author gives a sober assessment of the challenges faced by any person engaged in Internet investigations and intelligence gathering but does not present an overly bleak picture. I highly recommend this work for private security professionals.

Reviewer: Rich Petraitis is a private detective in the State of Illinois. He is a member of ASIS International.



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