Social Analyzer: Investigating usernames
Link to tool: https://github.com/qeeqbox/social-analyzer
One thing is certain when searching for OSINT tools, there is an abundance of online resources and scripts that can be used to identify social media accounts associated with usernames. Each has its benefits and drawbacks; however, Social Analyzer is in a league of its own and is a very impressive tool that I thoroughly recommend for Digital Investigators and OSINT practitioners.
Social Analyzer is an API, Command-Line Interface (CLI) and Web Application that is used for analysing and discovering a target’s profile across over 800 social media platforms and websites. The tool comes complete with several analysis and detection modules which the user can select from during the discovery phase of any investigation. According to the tool’s GitHub repository, the detection modules use a rating process based on a range of detection techniques. This detection process provides the user with a rate value from zero to 100; with zero being an ‘unlikely’ match; and 100 being a ‘highly likely’ match. The contributors to Social Analyzer further indicate that the tool can help in investigating profiles related to cyberbullying, online grooming, online child sexual exploitation, cyberstalking and disinformation.
The sources used by Social Analyzer vary greatly, though it is undoubtedly the most far-ranging. Social media platforms that the tool checks against including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki (to name but a few). Additionally, the tool can be deployed on multiple operating systems including Linux, Windows and macOS.
THE COMMAND-LINE INTERFACE
Social Analyzer can be deployed within a CLI, either as a Python or Nodejs script. Additionally, it is compatible with Docker – adding greater flexibility for the Digital Investigator based on their individual preferences. Social Analyzer’s output remains very much the same when using the tool within the Python, Nodejs or Docker CLI; it parses through social media platforms and webpages and outputs its results within the CLI itself. As a flexible tool, Social Analyzer also provides the investigator with a range of optional features and arguments such as the ability to extract available metadata alongside primary search results in addition to extracting profiles, URLs and patterns (if available).
THE WEB APPLICATION INTERFACE
Undoubtedly, this is the jewel in Social Analyzer’s crown. Using Mozilla Firefox’s Extended Support Release and Nodejs, Social Analyzer can be deployed as a very slick web application that offers plenty of features in addition to the functionality that is generated through the Command Line Interface. The web application is very easy to use from a UI/UX perspective, the investigator can input the target username and configure the optional search parameters which can display information including extracted names from the username alongside the origin of such names. Whilst this particular feature is not altogether useful when dealing with British/American names, it can prove to be useful when dealing with foreign or uncommon names. The main outputs from the web application interface include the detected profiles associated with the target username in addition to extracted metadata. However, as the image above indicates, the Social Analyzer web application also outputs a link chart showing the profiles associated with the target username – this is undoubtedly a brilliant feature. Also, the web application interface also allows the investigator to save the results either within a JSON file or within a pre-compiled ZIP folder. Lastly, the link chart can also be saved as a standalone image, which is useful in the event that it is needed to be attached to a separate digital investigation report.
In my opinion, Social Analyzer deserves much more credit than it has already received – it is undoubtedly a very flexible, user-friendly and results-driven tool that should be included in every Digital Investigator’s toolbox. During the test of the tool, I could not find any major flaws. Admittedly, the UI for the web application interface could benefit from some slight tweaks, particularly with regards to the link chart. The tool could potentially benefit from allowing the investigator to search against multiple target usernames to potentially identify common social media platforms used in addition to similarities between extracted metadata. However, for what the tool is and what it provides, it is fantastic and comes highly recommended!