Tools of the trade

During the course of each investigation we made use of several tools and applications. We’ve listed a few of these tools here for those of you interested in digging for yourselves.

The list will be updated, so be sure to check back later.

An exceptionally useful website, (also known as Waybackmachine), allows users to view snapshots of websites as they appeared at specific dates. If Waybackmachine saves a copy, you can view it as it appeared years ago.

It also has the ability to “save” and archive websites for future reference.

Every website is registered with the contact details of the website hosts, the owners and the administrative contacts. allows a user to search for website registration details using the domain name of the website.

Lately, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has led to many results being redacted due to privacy concerns.

Another website used to search and view website registration records, DomainBigData also keeps historic WHOIS records. This is especially helpful in instances where the website owners have changed their contact details or registration information.

Website Informer

Similar to DomainBigData and, Website Informer provides detailed information about a website and sometimes contains results that the other may have missed.


DNSlytics provides various reverse-search tools. We used the sites Reverse AdSense and Reverse Analytics substantially during our investigations. These provide a list of websites that make use of the same AdSense or Analytics codes.

Google Reverse Image Search

Upload an image to search Google for the same (or similar) images online. This is useful to identify whether the image used in a meme or viral message bears any reference to current events.


Similar to Google’s Reverse Image Search, TinEye also provides an indication of the origins of an image. allows a user to search using a person’s phone number, username, name or surname and flags social media accounts possibly linked to that person.


A  tool for light Twitter analysis, this allows you to view useful information about a Twitters account.


CrowdTangle provides a browser extension that traces website referrals. This allows you to trace the various origins of the traffic to the site (such as Facebook, Twitter or other pages).


After some minor installation, this is an exceptionally powerful and easy tool to use. It allows a user to view the metadata of a document. This often contains information such as the author, the date of the creation of the document and the editing time spent on it.


Gephi is an open source graph visualisation tool that allows a user to easily and quickly visualise network nodes and relationships. This is very useful in visualising communities on social media.