Michael Bazzell is an OSINT and privacy pioneer. His internet search guide and online privacy guide are both wildly popular books he has authored.
Two weeks ago, as most of you know by now, Michael Bazzell’s website was temporarily suspended. When the site reappeared, it was noticeably missing the free OSINT tools.
Michael released the following message:
On June 6, 2019, the OSINT Tools and Buscador VM were removed from the IntelTechniques website.
The Tools area of the site, along with the previous public forum, have been under constant attack for many months. After upgrading servers twice, the issues seemed under control. Beginning in May of 2019, we saw increased daily DDOS style attacks which caused a complete suspension with our host on June 6th.
Further, we have received two cease-and-desist letters this year from companies included within the search tools, and a DMCA complaint.
Removing access to the tools was mandated by the host in order to reinstate our account. They will only be available to members of the online video training.
It was a good run. The popularity of the site was interesting at first, then concerning, and finally the fall of the free resources. I sincerely thank those who have been a part of this community.
My heart sank along with the rest of yours. As a private investigator, I used Mr. Bazzell’s free online tools on a regular basis.
I took to Twitter along with many of you to express my sadness. I then listened to Mr. Bazzell’s podcast that explained in even further detail exactly what happened and why the free resources were removed. (You can find Episode 125, What Happened? at https://soundcloud.com/user-98066669/126-what-happened).
Michael explains in this podcast episode that his site was basically dragging down his shared server with the large number of resources he shared. Unfortunately, its ultimate demise can be attributed to the massive amount of malicious attention the site received.
For Michael and for those of us who used the tools on the site as resources for the credible work we do, it’s a total bummer.
But as Michael explained so well in his podcast, OSINT isn’t tools, its methodology. Methodology beats out tools any day.
We can all still access Michael’s tools behind a login if we purchase any of the online training he offers, which is bursting at the seams with extremely valuable content. About the training, Michael says, “The training is much more valuable than these free tools. These tools just get you to the source quicker. The training gets you to the source permanently.”
So while many consider the absence of Michael Bazzell’s free tools at IntelTechniques a huge loss to the OSINT community, lets just look at it as a bump in the road and instead choose to dig into the training and methodology behind it, which is more valuable to all of us in the end anyway.
I personally cannot thank Michael Bazzell enough for his willingness to freely share the OSINT tools he built that so many of us have used over the years. As he said himself, it was a good run. Mr. Bazzelll’s contribution to the OSINT community does not stop at his free tools. It can also be found in his books, training, and the advice he shares in his podcast at https://inteltechniques.com/podcast.html.
Though free access to the tools is gone, you can check out Michael’s podcast for continued freely shared OSINT and privacy resources.