Tracking @Rag_Sec Around the Globe

I got Challenged by @Rag_Sec on Facebook To locate them while traveling

So straight off one of the worst people to give an OSINT challenge to in a security researcher who specializes in intelligence and not just any form of intelligence but open-source intelligence “OSINT”.For context here yes I do me mean, humblebrag.

So if you have been here long enough or follow my twitter you know some of the shenanigans I can get up to when it comes to Intelligence and general spookiness, so I won’t go into to much detail on myself. 

This post is going to be how I tracked down and even called Rag in his hotel room in less than 6 Minutes from a photo, posted into a group chat.

So @Rag_Sec a good friend and follow Security Researcher of mine, tagged me on Facebook with a challenge to “Find Me” with the following image

To my reply which was straight to the point “Time Me,” @frootware decided to be the official counter for this the clock had started.

Before even starting a search like this, you need to look at the known data, I knew Rag from our general conversations, tweets, and posts online that he was away for work in the US. But at the time of the challenge, I didn’t know if he was on the way home from the US or still there, and if there were?

So the assumed information at current is that Rag is in the US so anything found located in the united states can be confirmed with the known information. The first step when analyzing any images is to always look for key data, i.e. names, flags, landmarks, weird objects, people, clothing.

This information can be further searched in a multitude of locations such as on Google, Twitter, Instagram and more.

In the photo, you can see there are flags flying but can’t make out for which country they are from as they are so distant. Landmarks are the interesting buildings in the skyline that I have marked, including a Bridge similar to the Brooklyn bridge in style next to a Ferris wheel.

Instantly narrowed down one city, I knew it wasn’t New York cause of the skyline, and it wasn’t Brooklyn cause of the size of the bridge compared to other buildings in the area and didn’t match what I have seen from my times in NYC.

So in this image what interests me is the Ferris wheel and bridge, a quick search for “US Bridges in the style of Brooklyn bridge” came back with nothing. But upon searching for “Ferris Wheel next to bridge” I was surprised to find an exact copy of the bridge in downtown, Cincinnati.

Comparing the bridge and Ferris wheel from the photos and the image given by Rag we can see that it is easily confirmed the location is a match, you can see this by the buildings and more

Checking for CCTV around the area I came across one in the downtown region, which happened to be facing in the perfect direction “I promise it didn’t move by itself” which was perfect as It had the landmarks that could be seen from the photo but on the opposite side

The next step was triangulate from the point of view to the buildings, to try and determin at what point the photo was taken from. We can easily determin this as there are multiple buildings at different angles and using a mixture of photos and imagery you can see at which the direction and side the photo was taken from. With a little a few lines and angles from different locatiosn we can atempt to see the angle of view.

The above was done simply, it is taken the angle at which the landmarks can be seen from the photo and drawing a line till they intersect, from there it was a straight line down to ground front for ground of the landmass as we can see in the photo the view is looking up at the towers and is not obstructed, we then follow the X-axis of the landmass till we get something that can match the specifications needed. In this case a hotel.

The markers are as follows, the red is triangulation landmark points, the green line is the is at the angel assumption that the photo angel was taken, the yellow line is the X-axis line, the blue line is the view that can be seen, assuming the Camera point is on the high tower marked in the landmarks.

Now I could have just said done and that would be it, but instead, I decided to go even further with it, as I knew rag was in the hotel room I decided to try calling the room.

So a quick call to the front desk and the clerk on was no help at all and pretty much hung up on me when I asked what room Rag was staying in obviously didn’t appreciate the 30 minute office background noise track I was playing from YouTube.

So what next call the Hotel management for the area?

Got a dude who was a proper Lad, explained I had a car waiting outside for Rag to bring her to the office, and I couldn’t get in contact with them cause they had a European phone that didnt work in the US.

He offered to connect me directly to the room, Perfect, just what I wanted. I typed up a message into the chat “Stop The Clock” as I waited for the call to connect. As the phone answered with a hello I clicked send, it was at 5 minutes, 6 seconds as Rag picks up the phone.

The Conversation as follows:

Rag: Hello

CyberViking: Hey, hows Cincinnati

Rag: ehh Good “can hear the fear in rags voice”

CyberViking: Good Thing you’re enjoying it, that’s awesome

CyberViking: Congratulations… “Cut off but meant to say congrats on being too easy”

Rag: Who’s this?

: This is a certain friend from Ireland…

Rag: “Sigh of Relief”

CyberViking: “Chuckles”

CyberViking: You Challenged Me “More Laughing”

Rag: “Laughing” NO FUCKING WAY “Laughing In Fear”

So for those who didn’t wanna read all that but probably have already, the TLDR of it is, I tracked Rag to her hotel from a photo challenge posted in messenger and call her to.  But let this post be a lesson, don’t challenge board All Source Intelligence Specialists when they have nothing better to do lol.