Data-science investigations have brought journalism into the 21st century, and--guided by The Intercept's infosec expert Micah Lee-- this book is your blueprint for uncovering hidden secrets in hacked datasets. In the current age of hacking and whistleblowing, the internet contains massive troves of leaked information. These complex datasets can be goldmines of revelations in the public interest-- if you know how to access and analyze them. For investigative journalists, hacktivists, and amateur researchers alike, this book provides the technical expertise needed to find and transform unintelligible files into groundbreaking reports. Guided by renowned investigative journalist and infosec expert Micah Lee, who helped secure Edward Snowden's communications with the press, youʼll learn the tools, technologies, and programming basics needed to crack open and interrogate datasets freely available on the internet or your own private datasets obtained directly from sources. Each chapter features hands-on exercises using real hacked data from governments, companies, and political groups, as well as interesting nuggets from datasets that never made it into published stories. You'll dig into hacked files from the BlueLeaks law enforcement records, analyze social-media traffic related to the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and get the exclusive story of privately leaked data from anti-vaccine group America's Frontline Doctors. Along the way, you'll learn:
- How to secure and authenticate datasets and safely communicate with sources
- Python programming basics needed for data science investigations
- Security concepts, like disk encryption
- How to work with data in EML, MBOX, JSON, CSV, and SQL formats
- Tricks for using the command-line interface to explore datasets packed with secrets
Micah Lee is a renowned investigative journalist and computer security engineer celebrated for securing Edward Snowden's NSA leak. He is the director of information security at The Intercept and an advisor to the transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets. A former EFF staff technologist and Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder, Lee is also a Tor Project contributor and the developer of open source security tools like OnionShare and Dangerzone.