Impact of COVID-19 on the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Market
As the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading across the globe, people have been confined to their homes. As an increasing number of people are staying home, Internet consumption has increased drastically due to remote work policies, the use of social media platforms to stay connected, and the consumption of on-demand entertainment services. Internet consumption has spiked at such an unprecedented rate that Internet broadband download speeds have declined in various countries. This extreme use of the Internet and digital platforms such as social media, digital media, articles, blogs, and online forums, among others, has generated massive amounts of public data, which is expected to drive the market of OSINT during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the outbreak of COVID-19, Internet penetration, social media consumption, and use of web portals have increased exponentially during Q1 2020, as governments of almost all the countries across the globe have imposed lockdown to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. OSINT tools collect data from such publicly available sources to map the prevalent and potential market trends. Enterprises have witnessed an increase in malicious activities and cybersecurity concerns after adopting work from home policies adhering to the government guidelines. The OSINT tools also help enterprises in detecting and mitigating the potential cybersecurity threats helping in protecting sensitive enterprise and customer data. Also, during the pandemic, when the majority of the homeland security and military personnel are allocated with duties to help the nation fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, ONIST tools and solutions are of great help to the intelligence departments to produce intelligence from the vast volumes of publicly available information and help gather any information related to potential threats to the nation.
Furthermore, via dark web analysis in early April during this pandemic, it has also been discovered that several marketplaces on the dark web sold fake COVID-19 vaccines across Europe, North America, and Asia. Users visiting such platforms either end up spending on a product that will never be delivered or download malicious software unknowingly that can track their activities and steal sensitive information such as passwords and other credentials. While the world is dealing with the unprecedented humanitarian and financial impact of COVID-19, cybercriminals are finding new ways to exploit people’s ignorance and anxiety. OSINT tools help in detecting such malicious activities across the web and protect users from potential damage that may be caused, thereby increasing the market demand for OSINT tools and platforms during the pandemic period. Also, the lockdown period offers additional time to the people to invest in improving their analytical tools-related skills, which boosts the availability of a skilled workforce in the ONIST market. Therefore, COVID-19 is expected to have a moderate to high impact on the ONIST market.