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Open-Source Intelligence Lab

The Hume Center OSINT Lab is a hub for cross-college and university collaboration on faculty and student scholarship, research, and learning, in the evolving field of open-source intelligence (OSINT). Through sponsored programs, the lab provides funding and opportunities to students with interests in foreign languages, STEM, and national security to explore critical research topics in the field of OSINT.


The lab leverages the Virginia Tech National Security Institute and Hume Center’s resources to engage students in immersive research and experiential learning on various OSINT topics with the objectives of advancing student:

1. Learning - OSINT methods and skills

2. Research – generating new knowledge and disseminating it in high-impact conferences, journals, media, and other outlets.

3. Interest - explore application of academic and personal knowledge to OSINT

4. Employment – development of high-demand skills both for industry roles and government service.


OSINT Lab Leadership:

  • Director: Ehren Hill, Director of Education and Outreach, Virginia Tech National Security Institute; Managing Director of the Hume Center for National Security and Technology
  • Lead Faculty: Will Hanley, Deputy Director of the Senior Military College Cyber Institute, Information Warfare Research Associate
  • Co-Lead: Kurt Luther, Senior Advisor for OSINT, Virginia Tech National Security Institute; Associate Professor of Computer Science and Founding Faculty, Virginia Tech Innovation Campus

Other Faculty/Staff:

  • Stephanie Travis, Director of the Senior Military College Cyber Institute
  • Aaron Brantly, Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of the Virginia Tech Tech4Humanity Lab
  • David Jones, Research Associate, Intelligent Systems Division, Virginia Tech National Security Institute
  • Jeremiah Gwozdziewycz, Division Operations Coordinator, Intelligent Systems Division, Virginia Tech National Security Institute

Commercial Enablers of China’s Cyber-Intelligence and IO: by Ethan Mansour and Victor Mukora (, Published in Military Cyber Affairs (2024), ). Presentation at 2024 HAMMERCON conference. Faculty Advisor: Mr. Will Hanley

Open-Source Analysis of Russian Media Headlines: by Kelsea Austin. Presented at 2024 Annual National Security Colloquium. Faculty Advisor: Mr. Will Hanley

AI Narrative Competition: Closed environment: by Emil Morin, Samuel Radocha, Mads Kuriger, and Julian Acquah: Closed environment,: experimental research-focused student research-focused competition using generative AI techniques to generate develop content based on open-source information surrounding the current crisis in the Red Sea. Faculty Advisor: Mr. Will Hanley

Mission Engineering: Information Warfare Teaming: by Zac Harmeyer, Mahima Suresh, David Cho, Melanie Greig, Haylee Rogers, Julia Marano, Marcel Ferrell and Michael Phifer.: Presented at VT and NSU, studentsVT and NSU student teams develop novel models for interdisciplinary IW teaming utilizing open-source tools and techniques in support of military operations. Presented at 2024 Annual National Security Colloquium. Faculty Advisor: Mr. Will Hanley

Human-AI Collaboration for OSINT: In this CCI-funded project, we are exploring how generative AI can support collaborative OSINT investigations in the context of cyber vulnerability assessments, e.g., by supporting leadership and teamwork or by directly assisting with investigative tasks. 

Related publication(s):

  • Thomas C., Ethan D., Amirah J., Peyton L., Vivien P., Nicholas V., Anirban Mukopadhyay, and Kurt Luther. 2024. OSINT for Cyber Vulnerability Assessments of Virginia Small Businesses. Presented at the 2024 Academic Symposium on Cybersecurity, Emerging Networks, and Technologies (ASCENT), Blacksburg, VA.

Crowdsourced OSINT “In the Wild”: In this NSF- and CCI-funded project, we have studied successful examples of crowdsourced OSINT investigations “in the wild” to distill lessons on what works well and what challenges could be mitigated with new technological support.

Related publication(s):

  • Tianjiao Yu, Sukrit Venkatagiri, Ismini Lourentzou, and Kurt Luther. 2023. Sedition Hunters: A quantitative study of the crowdsourced investigation into the 2021 U.S. Capitol attack. In Proceedings of the 32nd ACM Web Conference (WWW ’23), 3849–3858.
  • Yasmine Belghith, Sukrit Venkatagiri, and Kurt Luther. 2022. Compete, collaborate, investigate: Exploring the social structures of open source intelligence investigations. In Proceedings of the 40th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’22), 129:1–129:18.
  • Sukrit Venkatagiri, Aakash Gautam, and Kurt Luther. 2021. CrowdSolve: Managing tensions in an expert-led crowdsourced investigation. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 5, CSCW1: 118:1–118:30.

OSINT Research Studios: In this NSF- and CCI-funded project, we explored how training and technological support could enable a novice crowd to collaborate with professional investigators on real-world OSINT tasks, in domains such as journalism, law enforcement, and human rights investigations.

Related publication(s):

  • Anirban Mukhopadhyay, Sukrit Venkatagiri, and Kurt Luther. 2024. OSINT Research Studios: A flexible crowdsourcing framework to scale up open source intelligence investigations. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 8, CSCW1: 105:1–105:38.

Collaborative Capture-the-Flag Events for Combating Misinformation: In this NSF- and CCI-funded project, we developed a software platform, CoSINT, that allowed teams to collaborate and compete with each other to investigate real-world social media dis- and misinformation, a model we call Collaborative Capture-the-Flag (CoCTF).

Related publication(s):

Crowdsourced Image Geolocation: In this NSF-funded project, we built a software tool called GroundTruth that allowed novice crowds to provide real-time assistance to expert OSINT investigators seeking to geolocate photos and videos.

Related publications:

  • Sukrit Venkatagiri, Anirban Mukhopadhyay, David Hicks, Aaron Brantly, and Kurt Luther. 2023. CoSINT: Designing a collaborative capture the flag competition to investigate misinformation. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS ’23),
  • Rachel Kohler, John Purviance, and Kurt Luther. 2017. Supporting image geolocation with diagramming and crowdsourcing. In Proceedings of the 5th AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing (HCOMP ’17), 98–107. (Notable Paper Award)
  • CS4984/PSCI4984/CS5984: Open Source Intelligence Lab
    • Offered Spring 2021, Fall 2021 (joint with Virginia Military Institute), Fall 2024 (TBD)
      • In this course, students will learn how to conduct effective, ethical Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) investigations in domains such as journalism, national security, and human rights; and how to develop and evaluate new OSINT tools to address real-world needs. Students will learn fundamental skills for OSINT collection and analysis, especially for social media data, including ethics and security, discovery, verification, preservation, and publication. Students will form teams to build an OSINT tool that fulfills a real-world need. Students will hone their OSINT investigation skills and refine their software tool through participation in several team-based Capture the Flag (CTF) events.
  • Foreign Open-Source Intelligence: Undergraduate VT Engineering Education Course. Expected Spring '25. 
  • Capture the Flag Event: In April 2024, Virginia Tech hosted the first-ever Senior Military College (SMC) OSINT Capture the Flag (CTF) event. Teams participated from 5 of the 6 SMCs, including The Citadel, Norwich University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Tech. The event focused on using OSINT techniques to perform a cyber vulnerability assessment a fictional retail business. Prizes were sponsored by OSINT/cybersecurity companies Mullvad, Sapper Labs (Hunchly), and Kase Scenarios.
  • DECIDEX ‘23: VT, student-led cyber incident decision-making exercise utilizing business, organizational, and open-source intelligence to manage risk and mitigate the impact of a simulated attack on a critical infrastructure company.

Reach out to Will Hanley ( or Ehren Hill (, or visit the Academic Affiliates Program page for information on partnership opportunities.