Trace Labs is a Canadian based not for profit organization that partners with law enforcement agencies around the world to leverage the power of crowd sourced OSINT collection to assist in ongoing missing persons investigations.
They maintain a vibrant and welcoming online community where new investigators can pick up the fundamentals and seasoned professionals can keep their skills sharp. They’d love it if you joined their Discord.
They’ve made a name for themselves over the last several years by hosting a very unique kind of Capture the Flag competition: The Search Party CTF.
The Trace Labs Search Party CTF is a non theoretical, gamified effort that allows for the crowdsourcing of contestants to perform a single task: Conduct open source intelligence operations to assist in missing persons investigations.
They take real missing persons cases and break out various categories of open source intelligence in to different “flags”. These flags represent pieces of intelligence that could prove useful to LE in missing persons investigations. The more flags a team finds, the more points they get and the stronger the dataset becomes. The end result of the competition is a robust and clean set of data points outlining a missing person’s online footprint. This dataset is then turned over to the agency responsible for investigating that particular missing person case.
Trace Labs will be hosting a Search Party CTF exclusive to the attendees at 44CON! In addition to investigating missing persons cases in real time on Thursday and Friday they will also be presenting a short workshop on Thursday showcasing the value of OSINT to missing persons investigations as well as some tips and tricks around people focused OSINT.
If you’re looking for a different kind of CTF and want to use your powers to #OSINT4Good then this CTF is worth checking out.
For a deeper dive in to the mechanics and methodology of their CTF we recommend you check out their YouTube Channel:
- Contestant Briefing from DEF CON 30: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYdQIiMzRlI
- See the CTF Platform in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz26mOwsse0&list=PLlaJQR699XLt4ib7yWgvaWM7KA12uTlB9