Hetherington Group - Expert Investigations and Intelligence Services
“Online Intelligence Training - Social Media Exploitation”

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Marriott Hotel Boca Center
5150 Town Center Circle
Boca Raton, FL, USA, 33486



8:00     Welcome:       Introduction to Online Investigations & Open-Source Primer

8:30     Module 1:       Utilizing Advanced Google Searches

9:30     Module 2:       Social Media Investigations – Basic to Advanced, Monitoring

11:30   Module 3:       Tracking Stolen Goods in Online Marketplaces

12:30                           Lunch

1:30     Module 4:       Online Image Tracking & IP Tracing

2:15     Module 5:       Event Monitoring

3:00     Module 6:       Using Anonymity, Working Undercover, and Removing your PII

 (Course Descriptions for Download)


Every investigation involves, at some level, social media and open source examinations. This introductory class examines the different types of open source and social media platforms and the language of this unique investigative world.

Participants will learn the types, differences, and jargon of open source investigations.

The ability to uncover information on the Internet is the primary skill of an online investigator. The go-to resource for many is Google, yet not everyone knows how to utilize its full potential. This class expands your general knowledge of the search engine, making difficult searches more effective.

In this intermediate to advanced hands-on class, participants will learn how to maximize Google searches, as we cover the basics, the hacks, and extra Google resources to create proper search strategies and run advanced Internet searches. Participants will also learn the expert tools of this common search application to make difficult searches more effective. Upon completion of the course, field investigators will be able to hunt down deep web content; conduct advanced search strategies on Google, Bing, and other search engines; and use algorithms for surface finds and open source results.

Social media platforms are an important aspect of any online investigation. This advanced class is for you, if you hold the skills to conduct cursory searches but want to be on top of your game with the latest search tools for locating and uncovering social media users and their online content.

Participants will learn how to discover intelligence by investigating popular social media platforms and search engines as well as gain knowledge of new social media platforms on the horizon. During the training, you will review social media pages, learn how hashtags and images can play a role in a case, and identify further leads. Upon completion of this class, field investigators will be able to conduct social media investigations using specialized search engines and conduct a CARA Analysis: Characteristics, Associations, Reputation, and Affiliations.

Conducting asset investigations often requires a keen understanding of how to track down stolen money and property on a variety of Internet sites. Backpage, marketplaces, and auction websites— used for stolen goods and other nefarious means – are some of the many places nefarious criminals conduct their trade.
This intermediate to advanced hands-on class examines how to use important online tools when conducting asset investigations. Participants will learn the ins and outs of auction and illegal sale sites conduct hands-on searches to track materials stolen or otherwise sold on Bedpage and popular auction sites, traders, and others. Upon completion of the course, field investigators will be able to track and locate assets illegally sold on auctions, and dark websites.

Knowing specialized technical search techniques and resources is invaluable when tracking down the owner of a website, photo, copywritten image, or other electronic document types. This class provides a comprehensive introduction to unique search tools for tracing images and IP addresses.

This introductory class offers participants hands-on training on how to track down images online, whether copyrighted or sensitive. Participants will learn how to utilize photo recognition search engines and locate users and their online posts using IP tracing, Whois services, and other search tools. Upon completion of the course, field investigators will be able to find and identify five logistics of an online image, including location metadata and hash values.

From parties to raves, active shooters to civil unrest, and bad weather to travel disruptions, event monitoring is the gold standard for monitoring and responding to event crises. In recent years, online investigators are more frequently tasked with monitoring local to global events to aide in the rapid response of boots-on-the ground intelligence teams.

This module will address the nuances of online security teamwork, event monitoring protocols, and data collection and reporting. It will include a live fire exercise to help field investigators understand how to balance the intensity of these types of OSINT investigations with the stresses of event monitoring. Upon completion of the course, field investigators will be able to onboard an event, identify collection requirements, and establish the distribution of tasks; Select services, resources, and tools to meet monitoring protocols; Adhere to legal and ethical boundaries related to overseeing open communications in sensitive environments; Establish and maintain reporting and structure protocols to account for all data collection.

Many social networks and online information sources either allow the subjects of searches to see who has been searching for them or provide some fairly obvious clues as to who is looking at their information. Beyond social media, your public records are for sale, so your home address and assets are easily located through simple online searches. Because of this, everyone is at risk for identity theft, online and physical stalking, and harassment. This advanced class provides tools for how to work undercover online, while adhering to ethical standards and laws and provides a through description of how and where your data is stored and how to remove it.

In this intermediate to advanced class, participants will receive hands-on training on how to conduct investigations on social media platforms without compromising their online identity, gain tools for working online undercover, and know how to avoid exposure when researching subjects online.

Participants will also review a case study detailing how a fraudulent and nefarious actor obtains personal identifying information and how it can be used against you. “Opt Out” procedures for public service and security personnel and explore the tools and methodologies used to operate discreetly on the Internet will be discussed. Upon completion of the class, participants will be able to identify how private lives and public information are available through websites, social networks, and “Invisible Web” sources; and will have the ability to protect their privacy by implementing basic security practices online, at home, and on social media. All participants will receive handouts on concepts and investigative techniques.

Instructor Biographies


Cynthia Hetherington, MLS, MSM, CFE, CII is the founder and president of Hetherington Group, cyber investigations consulting, publishing, and training firm. With over two decades of expertise, Ms. Hetherington is a leader in due diligence, corporate intelligence, and cyber investigations. She is the author of three books on conducting cyber investigations and annually trains over 7,200 investigators, security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies on best practices. She shares her expertise in this increasingly data-intensive, cyber focused-world through the publication of an industry newsletter, and an online blog, and by hosting the annual OSMOSIS Conference.

Ms. Hetherington leads national and international investigations in corporate due diligence and fraud, personal asset recovery, and background checks. With a specialization in the financial, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications industries, her cyber investigations have recovered millions of dollars in high-profile corruption cases—assisting in the investigations of the top two Ponzi cases in United States history.

Ms. Hetherington shares her experiences and expertise as a keynote speaker and contributor at women-focused technology events and conferences across the U.S. She is an active member of the Women in Security Forum, the Women’s President Organization, and collaborates with The National Center for Women and Information Technology on drawing young girls into the field. Ms. Hetherington serves as a lecturer and mentor to CybHER.org and RocketGirls at CyberSpace Camps held at the Kennedy Space Center.

In 2022, Ms. Hetherington was awarded the Women in IT USA Security Leader of 2022. In 2021, Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence honored Ms. Hetherington with the Protective Intelligence Pioneer Award. In 2019, she was honored with the Enterprising Woman of the Year Award by Enterprising Women Magazine and the CybHER Warrior Award by Dakota State University Madison Cyber Labs. Also in 2019, she was shortlisted for the coveted Women in IT New York’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and named a finalist in the esteemed Ernst & Young LLP New Jersey Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Ms. Hetherington is a recipient of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ James Baker Speaker of the Year Award.


Ms. Megan Munoz joined the Hetherington Group in early 2022, serving as the Director of Education and Knowledge Management. She is an all-source intelligence analyst and instructor specializing in homeland security, law enforcement, counterterrorism, radicalization, curriculum development, and intelligence analysis.

Prior to joining the Hetherington Group, she worked for the United States Air Force and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness as a senior intelligence analyst and managed a training academy which instructed in the tradecraft of intelligence for law- enforcement, first responders, and intelligence analysts across the region. Collectively, she has 17 years of intelligence experience.

Ms. Munoz is also a graduate and undergraduate level adjunct professor and curriculum developer at two different universities, as well as a doctoral student at the University of Southern California, with a dissertation focusing on Radicalization towards White Supremacy Extremism.

Ms. Munoz is tasked with the growth and success of Hetherington Group’s educational programs and the Knowledge Management Center, which houses several programs relating to the industry and investigations. She is tasked with maintaining a robust training and instruction curriculum, populated with information related to the industry, cyber investigations, and the intelligence tradecraft, designed to cultivate staff growth in subject specialization and development. She is also solely responsible for business development in the training and education realm, identifying leads, client and vendor relations, and proposal writing. Finally, she is a master instructor, leading courses for federal, state, local, and private industries, both in-person and via online platforms.