OSINT Methods: The Quest for LinkedIn Anonymity

Until recently, it was possible to view a LinkedIn profile without ever accessing the page itself and without risking virtual life and limb by alerting the profile owner to your (undoubtedly well-intentioned) snooping around. But with LinkedIn's introduction of a new popup login box, a semi-opaque overlay, and a frozen scroll bar whenever you try to view a page while not logged in, darkness has fallen upon the land and all hope is lost! ...Or is it?


Having no life to speak of and nothing better to do on a weekend, our resident knight of the OSINT round table set out on a noble quest to overcome these seemingly insurmountable obstacles and reclaim the anonymity of the masses. [Huzzah!]


What follows is an account of his great [*Ahem*] exploits.


1. In the beginning, there was the link...

From LinkedIn, copy the target profile URL (obviously, without accessing the profile itself). Then, go to https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly/, paste in the target URL, and click on TEST URL. The test will run for a while and should eventually display "Page is usable on mobile" once complete.


If the test doesn't work, check that you correctly copied the URL. In some cases, you may need to trim the end of URL, deleting any elements that follow the username.


2. Let there be source code

Now click on VIEW TESTED PAGE then select the HTML tab and then click the COPY button to copy the source code of the page.

3. And he looked upon the page preview...

Next, it's time to see what the HTML looks like when rendered as a web page. Go to https://codebeautify.org/htmlviewer#, paste your HTML data into the left box (the page output/preview will appear on the right), and then click the top right button to open the preview in a separate tab in your browser.

4. 'Tis but a scratch... (slicing through the code)

At this point, all the page data is already there in your browser, but you need to get rid of the elements obstructing your view.


To do this, open your browser developer tools panel (by pressing the F12 key), then click on the element inspector button (top le