Farsight Returns to NICAR for Third Year
By Karen Burke
Last year, Farsight delivered two standing-room-only, hands-on workshops on "Finding the Story: Using DNS Search for Investigative Journalism" at the NICAR event in New Orleans. Next week, Farsight returns to NICAR for the third year in a row to demonstrate how investigative reporters can use historical passive DNS to uncover domain names, IP addresses, name servers and other DNS-related assets used for possible malicious purposes, to expand digital footprints of known organizations, and much more.
NICAR, the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, is a program of IRE, founded in 1989 and supported by the Missouri School of Journalism. Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of journalism.
Over the past year, Farsight DNSDB, the world's largest historical passive DNS database, has been used in a wide range of investigative reporting, including the Columbia Journalism Review As election looms, a network of mysterious ‘pink slime’ local news outlets nearly triples in size;The Wall Street Journal How Russia Today Skirts High-Tech Blockade to Reach U.S. Readers; Mother Jones QAnon Is Supposed to Be All About Protecting Kids. Its Primary Enabler Appears to Have Hosted Child Porn Domains and, most recently, The New York Times A Hong Kong Website Gets Blocked, Raising Censorship Fears.
NICAR21: What's New
Next week, on March 3rd, 2021, Farsight Chairman, Cofounder and CEO Dr. Paul Vixie will deliver his presentation, "Using DNS Search for Investigative Journalism." This year Dr. Vixie will introduce and demo DNSDB Flexible Search to investigative reporters. In addition to asking exact questions using our Standard Search capabilities i.e. show me the DNS records related to farsightsecurity.com, investigative reporters now can ask the database "approximate" questions by making keyword searches for a particular word or phrase i.e. QAnon, climate change, etc. as well as learn Regular Expressions and Globbing search techniques. In addition, Dr. Vixie will introduce new Farsight community investigation tools such as Expander and Punycoder available now in Farsight Labs. All registered attendees will receive a free enterprise DNSDB API Key post-event.
In addition to our session, NICAR again has a terrific lineup of other great hands-on activities, panels and networking opportunities. Check out the full agenda here. Last year, I was fortunate to be able to attend a number of interesting NICAR sessions, which I wrote about in our company blog: Best Practices for Data Diaries in Investigative Journalism and Beyond and Researchers and Journalists: Searching for Common Ground.
Farsight Investigative Journalism Grant Program
In March 2019, Farsight debuted its grant program for investigative reporters. Since then, we have trained hundreds of reporters at NICAR and in newsrooms around the world. Our continued focus is to help data journalists advance their investigations. If you are an investigative reporter and unable to attend NICAR but would like to learn more about how DNSDB can advance your work, please apply for a grant and we can arrange training for you.
Finally, thank you to NICAR for its great work on behalf of the journalism community.
Karen Burke is the Director of Corporate Communications for Farsight Security, Inc..