Bellingcat hackathon - stratosphere Project
news! We won an "Honorable Mention" at Bellingcat’s April 2023 Hackathon: The judges liked how it used existing workflows (navigating the web) to allow for knowledge extraction, even though its architecture is not easily accessible.
- Michele Dallachiesa, email@example.com
- Eric Brichetto, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Perry Borst, email@example.com
- Duplorers, firstname.lastname@example.org
stratosphere is a free and open source OSINT platform that automatically collects every page you visit, building a private knowledge base you can analyze with Jupyter notebooks and an extensible suite of web apps including:
- LinkedIn contacts and companies explorer: Explore previously browsed LinkedIn profiles and companies
- Google search results: Review your past Google search results
- vk.com contacts explorer: Explore previously seen vk.com contacts, highlighting their connections
- Flows overview: Overview of web traffic intercepted in the last 10 minutes
You can also use the platform to quickly reverse-engineer HTTP/HTTPS web requests, including REST APIs. This lets you unlock the potential of private REST APIs, investigate GDPR breaches, and implement new scrapers to extend the knowledge base and power new web apps.
stratosphere runs in a Docker container and uses mitmproxy to intercept web traffic for analysis. The following steps will install the image and set up your browser to use the proxy.
1. Install Docker
Docker is a tool that is used to automate the deployment of applications in lightweight containers so that applications can work efficiently in different environments. You can follow the official installation instructions.
2. Pull the image and start the container
Before running the image, set Docker Preferences > Resources > Memory to 4GB. In Windows, this is set using the .wslconfig file.
You can now download and run the image from the command line:
docker pull micheda/stratosphere-app:latest docker run --rm --name stratosphere-app -p 8080:8080 -p 127.0.0.1:8082:8082 \ micheda/stratosphere-app:latest
After executing the last command, the container is running in foreground,
with all services reporting a
To stop the container, simply press
To build the image yourself,
docker build -t stratosphere-app .from the
stratosphere-appdirectory of this repository will do the trick.
3. Configure your browser or device
You need to configure your browser or device to route all traffic through the HTTP proxy listening on
Browser versions and configurations frequently change, you should search the web on how to configure an HTTP proxy for your system. Some operating systems have a global settings, some browsers have their own, other applications use environment variables, etc. I recommend FoxyProxy, a browser extension that let you quickly switch between different proxy settings:
4. Install the mitmproxy Certificate Authority
With the container running, and your browser set to direct traffic to
http://localhost:8080, check that your web traffic is going through the container's mitmproxy by browsing to http://mitm.it.
It should present you with a simple page to install the mitmproxy Certificate Authority.
Follow the instructions for your OS / system and install the CA.
5. Test the web tracking
From this point, stratosphere should be tracking all web pages you visit, and gathering data.
You can test that the system is working properly by browsing to https://www.google.com and verifying the presence of
a banner displaying
[S] on the top left corner of the page.
The banner is always visible on all tracked pages. If missing, try refreshing the page with
ctrl-r. Congratulations! Stratosphere is up and working properly.
6. Viewing dashboard data
The Dashboard allows you to analyze the pages you have visited. You can access the dashboard by browsing to http://localhost:8082.
Dashboard Options include:
- Flow Analysis : Google Search Results
- Web apps directory: Complete list of web apps, including those not listed in the index page.
- Object analysis: SQLite web interface to data base(SQL queries) and Jupyter Lab notebooks (querying and ad-hoc analyses with Python)
Note: You may see the message
WARNING: No mounted volume detected on /shared, informing you
that the newly captured information, analyses, and any other modification is lost once the Docker container is terminated.
If you want to persist the data, follow the next optional step.
7. Persisting your changes (optional)
You can persist your changes (including the knowledge base, analyses, custom extractors and analyses) by
stratosphere-app directory of this repository on the
/shared mount point in the container.
Firstly, clone this repository and verify the absolute path of the directory you want to mount:
git clone https://github.com/elehcimd/stratosphere.git cd stratosphere/stratosphere-app pwd
Assuming that the absolute path to the directory is
execute the following from the command line. On Windows, the host path (before
":") must be an absolute Windows directory path (e.g.
docker run -d --rm --name stratosphere-app -p 8080:8080 -p 127.0.0.1:8082:8082 \ -v /xyz/stratosphere-app:/shared micheda/stratosphere-app:latest
The additional parameter
-v takes care of mounting the volume,
-d runs the container in background.
You can stop the container with the following command:
docker stop stratosphere-app
vk.com contacts explorer
stratosphere automatically fetches people's profiles from vk.com as you explore and browse the website, adding them to the database for later analysis.
In the following example, the user explored a few profiles.
LinkedIn contacts explorer
stratosphere automatically fetches people and company profiles as you explore and browse on linkedin.com, adding them to the database for later analysis.
In the following example, the user explored a few contacts and their connections on linkedin.com.
Links from those results are displayed in the Google Search Notebook:
stratosphere automatically fetches links from Google searches and adds them to the database for further query.
In system overview, the user can review how many entities and relationships have been extracted, including also listing the active extractors (vk.com, linkedin.com, ...).
You can add new Jupyter notebooks to analyze data from existing extractors, or new extractors to parse specific sites. See Extending Stratosphere.
Potential Next steps: Cleanup code, fix errors on linkedin extractor, make application easier to install, drop dependency from Docker, integrate with external APIs to further enrich entities and relationships in the knowledge graph.
Limitations: it requires to install Docker, could be easier. Due to its nature (passive scraping), stratosphere is now scraping as a bot, but it only collects information the user already retrieved during her manual usage.
The project uses UUIDs to identify entities (e.g. user, search result) and relationships between entities.
If an entity is encountered several times, potentially on different web pages, a stable UUID lets us consolidate the knowledge in a unifying entity, merging the different data points.
The process of generating UUIDs for entities was thus designed to be solid and robust.
Different users can merge their knowledge graphs easily thanks to UUIDs, unifying the work of many OSINT researchers.
Thanks to Jupyter notebooks and Voila, users can easily extend the available web apps.
Further details on architecture can be found in System Architecture.