Building an OSINT box based on Open Source Intelligence Techniques 7th edition. Part 1, the Install

In the latest edition of his book, Michael Bazzell has decided to teach OSINT investigators to be self-sufficient when it comes to their tools. Gone is his OSINT powerhouse VM Buscador. Gone are the free tools he used to host. Instead, because things change and disappear, he has decided to teach people to build their own tools.

He uses Ubuntu as the base for the Virtual Machine in the walkthroughs. I didn’t care for Ubuntu, mainly because I’m not too fond of the default desktops. Honestly, I prefer running Debian with XFCE. But for quick installations, I go with Xubuntu. I say quick installs because it usually works out of the box, whereas Debian usually takes me days of tweaking to get it right.

In the past, before his old investigation image, and it’s replacement Buscador, I would build my own VMs based on either Debian or Xubuntu, and replicate the things he had done in his builds. This time around, I decided to build my own Xubuntu image, following his guide for the tools.

Here are the things I had to change to get Xubuntu based system set up.

The first difference I came across was after first booting the new VM. In the book, he says it would ask to be part of the Ubuntu improvement processes and to select “No.” I didn’t have that option.

The next difference was the installation of Guest Additions for VirtualBox (VB). The book says to click the Insert Guest additions disk, and then when the disk runs, to provide it the password prompt. Again, that didn’t meet my experience.

After installing the disk, I had to double click the icon on the desktop to open it. Having experience with VB additions in the past, I copied the contents of the CD to a new folder on the desktop. I then right-clicked in the new folder and said start terminal here. I tried running the file, but that didn’t do what I needed. I then tried, but again it didn’t do the job. Both were ran with the sudo command.

Then I ran sudo ./ It started running and then failed, stating GCC, Make, Perl, etc. were missing. I fixed this with a sudo apt install build-essentials, which installs the applications needed to compile code under Debian based systems.

After installing build-essentials, it still took two tries to get Guest Additions to build and install correctly. Each time the process was tested by changing to full-screen mode and having the resolution change to match. One change I made was to reset the video memory to the max in the settings. This is a problem I’ve seen in the past installing VMs in VMWare’s ESXI environment. The step is listed in the next section of the setup, but I found you can’t get max resolution in the Full-Screen VM window if this isn’t changed first.

The last difference in this section is for the process of adding the osint user to the vboxfs group. In the book, he says to click the nine dots to get t the terminal icon. In Xubuntu, click the little mouse head in the top left corner. The terminal should be in the favorites section just below the mouse head.

The rest of the steps work the same way up to Personalization. That will be the next post.

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