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Conducting effective searches for Discord servers with 'serverse'

Conducting effective searches for Discord servers with 'serverse' Conducting effective searches for Discord servers with 'serverse' https://extraction.team/serverse.html

For the benefit of our readers who are unaware, Discord is an instant messaging platform that focuses on group chats. It was launched in 2015 and has about 300 million registered users. Discord allows its users to create public and private communities known as servers, where they can communicate using text messages, video and voice calls. Like Twitch, Discord is primarily used by gamers, though there are now many servers on it for a variety of discussions and activities other than gaming, this has inevitably resulted in the platform being used for illegal purposes and hate speech. In response to a growing number of servers being set up to spread hate speech, Discord said in a blog post in April 2021 that it had removed 3.2 million accounts for “spammy behaviour” in the second half of 2020. Prior to this, an investigation by the New York Times revealed the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville had primarily been organised on Discord, with alt-right leader Richard Spencer and editor of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin, regularly using private servers to discuss strategy.

Of note, early QAnon influencers Tracy Diaz, Coleman Rogers and Paul Furber, created a Discord server to communicate strategies and plan for mainstreaming the conspiracy theory from the fringes of the internet. Following the Capitol riots, left-wing media collective Unicorn Riot revealed chat logs of 18 private Discord servers, members of which had attended the riots and discussed strategy as the attack raged on. Several of the chat logs were primarily used by QAnon adherents. Another server, “The Donald”, was banned by Discord in the aftermath of the 6 January attack. The server’s suspension was due to “overt connection” to the similarly named online forum “The Donald”, Discord said. The Donald online forum was involved in organising the riots, and calls to violence against members of Congress were easily found in the days leading up to the siege.

So, it goes without saying, Discord is an interesting source of open-source data and information which could have intelligence / investigative value.

However, the first obstacle we will undoubtedly encounter is the lack of tools and / or resources that can be used to pinpoint Discord servers that we may want to investigate – cue ‘serverse’, a search engine that will provide Digital Investigators with the capability to quickly and effectively find Discord servers based on keywords. When accessing serverse, users are presented with a clean and very user-friendly search engine interface from where they can input the search keyword parameters, then implement the search.

Discord Server-based OSINT techniques

Once the search has been implemented, users will be directed to a Google and Yandex search results page which will show any Discord servers matching the keywords that have been queried. From here, Digital Investigators can proceed to investigate further. For many of our readers, they will no doubt be wondering whether they can invoke operator searches – the answer to this is yes, absolutely! Serverse supports AND / OR operator searches. Using the AND operator will only return results matching all keywords whilst using the OR operator will return results matching any of the provided keywords. However, the team behind serverse rightly point out that advanced search operators should be avoided where possible. The reason for this is because serverse works by using advanced operators to query a large number of Discord search sites including disboard.org, top.gg, disforge, and dicordland. Also, we should point out that to use this resource effectively, pop-ups need to be enabled on Google Chrome by following these steps:

Serverse, a search utility made by Jake Creps and @aleksanderrr_

  1. Open your Chrome web browser and navigate to the site you want to allow pop-ups on.
  2. Click the lock icon to the left of the address bar.
  3. In the pop-up menu, click the drop-down next to Pop-ups and redirects, and change it from Block to Allow. You can also do this by clicking Site Settings and scrolling down to Pop-ups and redirects.

So, what do we especially love about serverse? First, this resource does not require any installation or major configurations aside from enabling popup within your browser. With serverse, users can access the search engine straight away and begin their searches! Secondly, there are absolutely no prerequisites to use servers; however, we would highly encourage our readers who are unfamiliar with Discord to take the time to understand the platform and why it is a highly under-rated resource when it comes to digital investigations.

Most certainly, we at OS2INT firmly believe that serverse will help Digital Investigators and OSINT Analysts streamline their investigation workflow by enabling them to effectively and efficiently search for, and identify Discord servers of investigative interest. This was proved to us when we tested serverse over the course of the week by conducting a wide range of searches for Discord servers likely being used by UK-based far-right users to spread conspiracies in addition to others potentially being used for more criminal activities. Overall, we cannot fault serverse for its search capability to make Discord-focused searches much quicker and easier.

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