8 Free OSINT tools for AML
The following is a useful guide to understanding open source intelligence (OSINT) tools for risk management, including a list of 8 free OSINT tools that may be helpful in your risk and compliance workflows.
What are Open Source Intelligence Tools ("OSINT")?
OSINT tools are used to gather publicly available information from various sources, such as social media platforms, websites, news articles and online databases. These tools help organizations interpret data for due diligence requirements, threat assessment, investigations and research purposes.
Why are OSINT Tools Important?
By aggregating publicly available information from many different sources, OSINT tools enable organizations to proactively manage risks and ensure compliance. Access to expanded data sources can help in risk assessments, early detection of money laundering and uncovering hidden relationships between individuals, other entities and transactions.
Identifying potential risks with the help of OSINT tools enables organizations to take appropriate measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
Choosing The Right OSINT Tools for AML
OSINT tools can be helpful in augmenting data to get a more complete understanding of risk. Depending on your organization’s requirements, you may need one or more of these tools to meet your regulatory requirements.
For those with processes in place, assessing the gaps in data can ensure more comprehensive risk reviews. That being said, time and resources will need to be allocated to manually review the relevant datasets.
8 Free OSINT Tools for Risk and Compliance
Here are 8 free tools our team has narrowed down for their invaluable data when it comes to AML processes, in alphabetical order. While we can share our thoughts, it’s important to select tools that align with your organization’s goals.
- Google Maps
Google Maps provides geolocation services, allowing organizations to map and visualize data related to their potential risks. By overlaying information on a map, risk landscapes can be easier to understand. Additionally, site assessments with Street View are possible without a physical visit, and can help assess the legitimacy of business locations provided by clients or counterparties.
- Google News
By providing access to a wide range of articles, Google News can monitor keywords surrounding an organization or key stakeholders. Set alerts to stay updated on local and global regulatory or enforcement actions and compliance-related issues. Google News can also be a source of references and citations for compliance reporting and documentation.
- ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is a collection of leaked documents related to offshore entities. This data exposes hidden offshore structures and potential connections to money laundering, including analyzing beneficial owners and links with offshore entities that may be involved in illicit financial activities.
- OCCRP Investigative Dashboard
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has comprehensive investigative data and tools for compliance and risk professionals, including company records, public documents, news articles and more. The information is helpful in conducting in-depth AML investigations assessing business partners, customers or entities involved in transactions.
Offers an extensive corporate database with global coverage that is freely available to users. Standardized data makes information consistent and accessible. Organizations, including risk and compliance technology platforms, leverage OpenCorporates’ data to simplify KYC processes.
This is a comprehensive list of global sanctions and watchlist data that’s used for screening. The database includes information on sanctioned parties, PEPs and other high-risk entities. Risk and compliance professionals can use this database to screen individuals, entities or vessels against relevant sanctions lists.
This tool provides real-time vessel tracking and comprehensive maritime data to help risk professionals assess associated risks for KYC compliance. Compliance teams can track vessel movements and gather information to assess potential illicit trade, smuggling or sanctions violations. Additionally, users can manage supply chain risks by identifying red flags that may impact the integrity of the supply chain.
Offers information about domain registrations and their associated entities, including domain spoofing or fraudulent websites. By cross-referencing WhoIs data with AML indicators, such as high-risk jurisdictions or suspicious entities, you can mitigate potential money laundering risks.
Features of OSINT Tools
The specific functionalities of OSINT tools can vary widely. Here are some to look out for when assessing if a tool is right for your needs:
Data Aggregation - streamlined process of collecting information from multiple channels
Search and Filter - users can enter keywords, queries or specific criteria to retrieve relevant information
Data Visualization - Graphs, charts or network diagrams can facilitate the analysis of complex datasets and reveal patterns or trends
Link Analysis - Allow users to explore connections between entities
Monitoring and Alerts - Users can set up alerts or notifications based on specific keywords or criteria to stay updated on changes in risk
Social Media Analysis - monitoring and analyzing social platforms, including mentions, hashtags, or activities to detect emerging trends
Geolocation - Map data based on geographical information to identify hotspots or assess risks based on location-specific factors
Workflows - Can facilitate team collaboration with features to annotate data, assign tasks and generate reports
- Customization - the ability to tailor the tool to your needs and preferences, including integration with other tools, APIs or external data sources
Why Data Alone Isn’t Enough
It’s important to know your OSINT tools and understand what data can be used to mitigate financial crimes, but it’s equally important to have the right technology in place to make sense of that data. While OSINT tools are fantastic aggregators of public data, they don’t always have the ability to optimize that data and transform it into multi-dimensional risk intelligence.
How Technology Platforms Increase Efficiency
As organizations are being inundated with more and more data and increasingly complex threats, technology platforms provide added efficiency gains that make workflows more manageable and effective.
Not only do technology platforms consolidate data from disparate tools into a single dashboard, they also make sense of multiple streams of data in a single, standardized format. For example, a technology platform enables you to review PEPs, sanctions, adverse media, UBOs and more, from a single place. Plus, they can have advanced resolution to make sense of multi-tool data that standalone OSINT tools would not have.
While technology platforms require some level of investment, they can be cost-effective for high-risk or highly regulated companies because these platforms help teams execute efficient workflows by automating cumbersome tasks, consolidating open source and broker data and surfacing risk flags that might otherwise be missed by organizations working within multiple OSINT tools. Not to mention, activity history and reporting are typically built right in to reduce manual tracking efforts.
How Sigma Platform Unifies Risk Data
Instantly access our a vetted and ready-to-use risk data library, which includes KYC, sanctions, corporate data and more. Plus, Sigma can ingest and optimize any structured and unstructured risk-related data, including your internal customer data, so that you can access a unified view of risk on any person, company or entity in a single dashboard.