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OSINT Tool Review

Extracting user information from Instagram with Sterraxcyl

Extracting user information from Instagram with Sterraxcyl Extracting user information from Instagram with Sterraxcyl https://github.com/novitae/sterraxcyl

There is an abundance of OSINT tools focused on Instagram, each has its own capabilities, pros, and cons. In this OSINT Tool Review we will introduce Sterraxcyl, a lightweight Python script that packs a lot of punch with regards to extracting useful information from Instagram and exporting such data into an excel or csv file.

Like most Instagram-focused tools, Sterraxcyl requires users to input their Instagram credentials before they can use it. Afterwards, within the command-line interface, users can indicate their specified target, what data they want to extract, and what output they require. Sterraxcyl offers two methods of extraction: express-mode and all-infos. The differences between both extraction methods and their capabilities are indicated below:

The express-mode method of extraction allows users to extract the following from target Instagram accounts:

  • User ID
  • Username
  • Full name
  • Page link
  • Biography
  • IsPrivate (indicates whether the page is private or public)
  • Followers count
  • Following count
  • Posts count
  • External link
  • IsBusiness (Indicates whether the account has been listed as business or personal)
  • IsProfessional (A sub-category for business accounts that allows users to determine the nature of their business)
  • IsVerified (Indicates whether the page has been verified by the user)

In addition to the above, the all-infos method of extraction will attempt to extract the following data:

  • Business address
  • Business category
  • Business contact method
  • Business email
  • Business phone number
  • Connected Facebook page
  • Mutual followed by count
  • Facebook ID
  • Has Effects (Indicates whether the target account is using camera and face effects)
  • Has Channel (Indicates whether the target account has its own channel)
  • Has Clips (Indicates whether the target account has any Instagram Reels – 15-second video clips)
  • Has Guide (Indicates whether the target account has any Instagram Guides – uploaded content with custom commentary)
  • Hide Like and View Count (Indicates whether the target account has hidden ‘like’ and ‘view count’ information)
  • Has joined recently

With regards to Sterraxcyl’s output, it must be said that it is quite extensive. During our test, we were able to extract a sizable Following and Follower list and export it to a csv file. But, what we especially like about Sterraxcyl is its capability to extract individual Following and Follower details such as usernames, full names and biography – this certainly helps the investigator to save time. Also, the tool itself crawls at a slightly lower speed – ensuring that it doesn’t get flagged by Instagram’s rate-limiting mechanisms.

Aside from the slower crawl rate which has its own pros and cons, Sterraxcyl is quite an effective tool. The tool’s output – namely the csv file of Follower and Following data – can most certainly be used by Digital Investigators to create a visual representation of the target profile’s social network, then combine it with several others through the use of a free data visualisation tool such as Gephi. All in all, Sterraxcyl comes with our recommendation for its wide-ranging extraction capabilities. Whilst it generally has the same type of extraction capabilities as other open-source tools, we find that Sterraxcyl is unique due to the fact that it outputs slightly more information than other tools. Also, the tool’s slow crawl rate is also considered to be a capability in its own right based on Instagram actively seeking to prevent the OSINT tools on its platform.

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