What’s wrong with namecheckers?

Branding tools

I will immediately reveal the secret of Punchinelle — most of the tools for searching by nickname are not related to OSINT, but marketing.

Green doesn’t mean “found”, it means “you can buy this domain.” And .online is always blue, cause it’s promoted
InstantUsername highlights what’s free, not what’s taken

Quantity and quality

Even a site that is irrelevant at first glance can provide useful information. For example, we can find some account on the forum where our target has left very valuable messages. Or on a specific little-known social network, where the account was once created for contact with a friend who is nowhere else.

snoop HTML report
Sorting of results by category in WhatsMyName.app

False positives

It is worth highlighting 3 categories here:

Censorship and Cloudflare

There are specific reasons which determine that some false positives are results of censoring, service restrictions, and protection from bots techniques.

“Suddenly” some sites block access by country IP
Sometimes namechecking is not possible due to Cloudflare

Up-to-date sites database

Now a little information about timely data update.

Meanwhile, requests to add sites to sherlock hang for six months

Identifiers and cross-references

For some time I researched account IDs (Google // GAIA ID, Yandex with its own multiple IDs) of different platforms and their use in OSINT.

Use of various identifiers by Yandex services (https://t.me/HowToFind/127)

So what?

Let’s summarize and form a list of requirements for a satisfactory tool for searching by a nickname.

  • no false results: an existing account must be found or there must be an obvious error;
  • the database of sites is promptly updated: for example, every time the tool is launched, updates are pulled from the cloud;
  • readable report with ranking and categories: at least CSV/HTML + separation by country and purpose of sites;
  • customization: simple addition of your own categories and sites;
  • reliability of verification methods: the tool should not fail and be able to detect stubs with protection, authorization, captchas, and specific redirects with censorship of the provider or the site itself;
  • the possibility of massive checking on the list of nicknames: we did not discuss this, but everything is obvious here.
  • automatic use of suitable proxies to bypass restrictions: there are ready-made collecting and filtering tools;
  • screenshots of pages or saving to a web archive: very important for operational searches, when after a couple of hours the account can be closed/deleted.

Conclusion

So, we examined the pros and cons of the existing tools. What to do next?

https://xkcd.com/927/

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