The power of maritime OSINT – interview with Wondersmith Rae
by Maciej Makowski
Maritime OSINT and tracking the movements of vessels is a hot topic again in the recent times.
Regardless of the changing trends, there are people who have been involved in this area of research for a while and are experts at various aspects of maritime open source intel investigations.
First things first – your introduction. Who are you and what is your OSINT experience?
I am a Senior OSINT Analyst in Cyber Recon for a large Consulting Firm. My OSINT experience is mostly self-taught from writing blogs, speaking at conferences, and doing personal research into topics that I find interesting.
Can you tell us how you developed your interest in maritime OSINT – and why?
What is your methodology to research and follow vessels? What do you concentrate the most on?
Is there a big difference between tracking civilian and military vessels? What are the main issues or difficulties of both?
Are there any places on Earth (ports, but also rivers, canals, lakes, etc.) where researching vessels is much harder than normally?
Does maritime OSINT also include researching shipwrecks? Have you ever done that?
In the light of the recent wartime events in Ukraine and the flight of the oligarchs in the West as a result of sanctions, have you researched any of their vessels? What would be the best approach if somebody wanted to try doing it?
How transferable are people OSINT skills to tracking vessels? Or maybe both of these skillsets work best when combined?
From a professional standpoint, how useful is maritime OSINT? Is there a job in that?
To finish up on a real life story note, can you recall your favourite vessel you tracked, or your favourite maritime investigation?
About the Author:
Maciej Makowski - information security specialist with a strong background in criminal investigations and online safety. Spent nearly 13 years working as a police officer and cyber crime detective in An Garda Siochana, Ireland’s National Police and Security Service. Graduate of University College Dublin, also received professional qualification in data protection from the Law Society of Ireland. Experienced Axiom, Encase and FTK digital investigator, certified Cellebrite forensic mobile examiner. Author of osintme.com, a blog on open source intelligence and digital privacy.