OSINT and Disposable Emails
As you know, email addresses are often used to search data in an OSINT investigation. This information can be important for several purposes: to identify linked accounts, find out the linked number, or use it for phishing and hacker attacks. For this reason, some people, and especially OSINT specialists, do not want to share their email addresses. However, what can you do if an email address is necessary for registration on the sites or platforms? Use disposable email addresses.
What is a disposable email address?
A disposable email address is a temporary mailbox used to avoid spam, hide your identity, and restrict access to your primary mailbox. There are three types of such addresses:
- Aliases for popular services like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, which filter messages to inbox outside the primary mailbox.
- Accounts on a separate email domain through which emails are sent to the main account.
- Accounts that usually work from 10 minutes to several days and do not forward messages to the main account.
How does a disposable email address relate to OSINT?
Such a tool connects to OSINT in three different ways, depending on the purpose of its use.
Firstly, OSINT specialists know how valuable information is and how easily it can be obtained from open sources or hacked. For this reason, a disposable email address can be used to protect yourself from unnecessary spam and reduce the chance of hacking your primary mailbox and phishing attacks.
Secondly, OSINT professionals need to erase their digital footprint while investigating, and a disposable email address is an excellent tool to register on some sites or request data.
Thirdly, OSINT specialists also need to know how to distinguish disposable email to protect the security of customer data or find the person behind it. For example, many services provide disposable boxes without a password. Therefore, anyone who knows the address can read the incoming letters. Sometimes this knowledge can be very useful.
What services can you use to create a disposable email address?
In fact, there are many free resources and we introduce you to just some of them. They differ in privacy and complexity of use.
Let’s start with one of the most popular mail services – Yahoo! Mail. A few people know about its service of disposable emails.
Yahoo! Mail offers unique email addresses to sort your emails and secure your account. They consist of a base name and a keyword. Since there can be up to 500 keywords, you can create 500 different addresses. For example, you choose the word “apple” as the base word, and the keywords are “red,” “green,” and “white.” So, your email addresses will be apple-[email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].
At the same time, you do not need to register and fill in the data for each new address, as they will be linked to your actual address.
All you need to do is go to the menu Settings – Security – Create a base name. Next, you can also set up spam blocking, filters, and forwarding for the new mailbox.
In this way, you can use these emails to protect yourself from phishing or spam, but all emails will go to the primary mailbox. You can filter them for convenience.
This option is not absolutely confidential as it is tied to the primary mailbox. So, it can be tracked. However, your stalker needs to apply special skills and tools to follow this connection.
This service provides a super easy-to-use disposable mailbox. All you need to do is create any address and click “Go”. You will get access to a mailbox that works just like any other. You can send and receive emails, send files and use this address for subscriptions.
Just keep in mind that the box does not have a password, so anyone who knows your address can read all the letters. So, you’d better use it only for messages that do not carry personal information, passwords, logins, etc.
MailDrop is another similar variant of a public temporary email address. The only difference is that disposable addresses are cleared after 24 hours of inactivity.
To create a mailbox, you need to enter a name before @maildrop.cc, located in the upper right corner of the screen. You will see all messages by pressing GO >.
However, this service has several significant drawbacks:
- Each box is limited to 10 messages
- Received messages cannot be larger than 100 KB
- All attachments in incoming messages are removed, so you can’t share files.
This service outperforms the previous three in terms of privacy.
Blur creates masked email accounts, but you need to enter data into an online form. These addresses cannot be traced back to the owner, and the mailbox is unavailable to other users.
You need to register on the site, and Blur will provide you with an anonymous email address. It works like a regular mailbox for sending and receiving emails, but you can also forward messages to your actual email box. If this box is being attacked by spam, you can disable redirects.
As you can see, the services differ in their ease of use and privacy. Some you can set in a couple of clicks, while others require registration but are completely anonymous and safe for any correspondence. For this reason, choose services depending on your goals and check all conditions before starting.