07 Jun 2023

How The Maltego Academic and NGO Program Helped the OSINT Community in 2022

Maltego Team


  • The Maltego Academic and NGO Program aims to provide organizations and individuals with technical and consultancy resources to enhance global investigations and foster innovation.
  • In 2022, the Program supported a wide range of projects, including anti-human trafficking, investigative journalism, disinformation analysis, and terrorism analysis, to name just a few.
  • Academic institutions and non-profit organizations can apply to the Program this year from June 1 to July 31, 2023.

Where Innovation and the OSINT Community Meet 🔗︎

In the ongoing fight against criminals, Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) emerges as a crucial ally. With its help, organizations and individual researchers can learn to navigate the complex digital landscape and launch global investigations, fostering a culture of constant technology innovation.

To popularize the modern investigative approach within the OSINT community, we at Maltego are excited to open another round of applications to the Academic and Non-Profit Research Program. With the Program, we strive to contribute to organizations and individuals who set out to make a change in the world through projects or research.

What You Need to Know About The Maltego Academic and NGO Program 🔗︎

The Maltego Academic and NGO Program is an annual program that offers technical and consultancy resources to selected participants for their academic and non-profit projects and research. Admissions to become our Program Partner open yearly. The Maltego team supports all Program Partners’ research projects and progress throughout the course of one year after admission.

To learn more about the Program and application requirements, please visit the Academic and NGO Program page.

We also feature some of our Program Partners’ work on our blog as well as in the 2021 Program highlight.

The Maltego Academic and NGO Program Spotlights 2022 🔗︎

In 2022, we supported 55 academic institutions and 20 non-profit organizations as well as independent researchers. Some of the initiatives included anti-human trafficking projects, investigative journalism, disinformation campaigns, and educational events.

We were especially honored to be involved in the following five projects:

Aida Kokanovic Dismantles a Human Trafficking Network 🔗︎

Human-trafficking in Prostitution across Europe: A Person of Interest Investigation with Aida Kokanovic

Determined to uncover the criminal masterminds behind a human trafficking movement in Europe, Aida Kokanovic used her journalistic expertise and support from Maltego to launch an investigation on a sex trafficking network.

By automating key investigative processes with relevant technology, she gained access to crucial information that was pivotal to her research.

She began by gathering OSINT information from sex recruiting ads and conducting a contact exploitation investigation to connect the dots. This involved performing link analysis, populating her Maltego graph with existing data connections to trace the origins of criminal networks.

For a complete workflow of her investigative techniques and to learn more about the instrumental role of Maltego in empowering her research, see the article here.

Brian Perlman Uses OSINT and GEOINT to Investigate Human Rights Violations 🔗︎

How Technology Innovation Helps  Investigate Human Rights Violations  with Brian Perlman

Brian Perlman, an open-source intelligence and geospatial intelligence analyst, relied heavily on technological innovation for his two investigations.

In the first one, he employed OSINT and GEOINT to assess damage in the Nagorno-Karabakh War of 2020. In the second case, his focus was on gathering evidence on the protest violence by Sudanese authorities in October 2021 and determining the location and course of events.

Given the financial constraints associated with utilizing advanced technology in investigations of similar magnitude, Brian partnered with Maltego to alleviate the burden and gain support to continue his research.

Scope of work in Brian’s research

With Maltego at their disposal, his team could efficiently compare hundreds of social media images and imagery reports to pinpoint weapons and gather critical insights.

By leveraging various data sources within Maltego, he enhanced his investigative capabilities and progressed in his inquiries, which you can read more about here.

Kyrese Davis Explains What Terrorism Means in the Modern Age 🔗︎

Exploring the Factors Driving Terrorism and Counter-terrorism Measures with Kyrese Davis

As part of our Program, we also create new opportunities and offer technical support to early adopters of investigative tools, including university students.

One example is a group of students from the California University of Pennsylvania that utilized Maltego for an academic project. Their research focused on examining the roots of extremism and terrorism and exploring strategies to steer individuals away from these ideologies and pursue a better life.

Toward the end of our partnership, Kyrese Davis, a recent graduate and Maltego Program Partner, published an essay that sheds light on the reasons behind terrorism. It focuses on acts at international and domestic levels and discusses the counter-terrorism measures in place.

For deeper insights into this critical subject matter, we invite you to read the essay here.

Gisela Pérez de Acha and Stephanie Croft Uncover Actors Behind a US Disinformation Campaign 🔗︎

Investigative Journalism on  Disinformation Campaigns with Gisela Pérez de Acha and Stephanie Croft

Researchers Gisela Pérez de Acha and Stephanie Croft from UC Berkeley Human Rights Center participated in the Academic Program with a group of university students. They wanted to undertake a study to unveil the individuals and organizations responsible for running disinformation campaigns in the US regarding hormonal birth control.

Framework used for identifying misinformation and disinformation

Their investigation began with collecting a series of TikTok videos used in the disinformation campaigns. Using Maltego and data integrations such as OpenCorporates and Orbis, they traced the roots of the campaigns back to the individuals and organizations tied to anti-abortion movements and, eventually, discovered how they were funded.

You can learn more about discovering the main players behind this network by watching the webinar or reading the article.

Lighthouse Reports Runs an Investigation into Europe’s Shadow Armies 🔗︎

Investigating Exploitation of Refugees in the European Union Using OSINT with Lighthouse Reports

Another Partner we supported was Lighthouse Reports, a Dutch non-profit organization. Maltego offered them technical resources to complete three OSINT investigations into the so-called Europe’s Shadow Armies: A group of masked men who allegedly carried out illicit, organized violence against refugees on land and at sea.

Through gathering witness testimonies and utilizing relevant tools, Lighthouse Reports achieved significant breakthroughs. They connected a group of masked men’s uniforms to the Croatian Intervention Police, identified perpetrators on ships from video evidence at Greek sea borders, and exposed the recruitment of migrants for illegal asylum-seeking interventions.

Merging identical identities at Maltego speeded the investigation

Their findings garnered attention from the general public, including European Parliament politicians. These initial steps have laid the foundation for future investigations into human rights violations, empowering the organization to continue its work.

For a detailed walk-through of the process and how Lighthouse Reports utilized Maltego’s resources, see the case study.

How to Join the Maltego Academic and NGO Program 🔗︎

The Maltego Academic & NGO Program seeks to make Maltego accessible to both experienced and aspiring investigators and help advance their research to the next level.

We invite you to submit an application for the 2023 admission from June 1 to July 31 via the application form here. The program is designed for academic institutions, public, private, and non-profit organizations, and individuals.

Every investigative journalist student should learn how to harness a tool like Maltego for powerful and innovative storytelling.

Gisela Perez de Acha. Professor, UC Berkeley.

By incorporating it into your university curricula or organization research, you will have a chance to establish a strong foundation for future investigations backed by advanced OSINT technologies.

Apply for the Maltego Academic & NGO Program now.

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Happy investigating!

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