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Side-loading Vortimo extension into Chrome

With Google taking it’s sweet time to approve Vortimo Beta4 we thought we’d show you how to install by side-loading the extension. If you are worried that we do nasty things in the extension’s code (hey… you shouldn’t trust anyone) you can browse through the code yourself.

Step 0: If you haven’t done so – install the desktop application from https://vortimo.com/beta4/

Step 1: Download the Chrome extension in ZIP format:

Unzip the ZIP file somewhere useful. In this example we’ll go with c:\tmp\. You’ll see a directory called ‘dist’. So the extension will live in ‘c:\tmp\dist’. You can really choose any directory.

Step 2: Go to settings -> More Tools -> Extensions:

Step 3: Enable Developer Mode. It’s a toggle switch on the top right corner. It allows you to side load the extension from a ZIP. You still need to manually do it – so you still have control of what extensions you’ll load.

Step 4: Load the extension. Click on ‘Load unpacked’ and navigate to where you unzipped the ZIP file. Pick the ‘dist’ directory.

Yay! The extension is loaded and good to go. Remember to install the desktop component too and feel free to disable developer mode afterwards.

Step 5 (optional): Test that everything is working. Open a new tab AND NAVIGATE SOMEWHERE. The extension only shows up once it’s code is injected into the page and that only happens when a new page loads. So do a Google search for ‘test cricket’ and make sure the extension shows up:

You can mouse-over on the nugget (the little thingy on the left middle of the screen where you control Vortimo) on the left to see all the options.

Remember that by default – highlighting and marking is disabled for Google search results – so don’t be alarmed when you highlight something and you’re not seeing it 😉

Start the server by hand (preferred way) or start it via the extension. The screenshot below is for Windows. If you’re on Mac/Linux you need to use your imagination a bit.

Once you’ve started the desktop app the Vortimo UI will open in a new tab in your browser and you should see the Google search show up:

If for some reason it doesn’t show up – or you closed the UI (by mistake) you can always open it again by clicking on the ‘Open UI’ button in the extension:

Now you’re all good to go! Hope this helped.

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Beta 4 is good to go!

To understand what Vortimo is all about you may [flip through these couple of slides].

To learn how to use Vortimo – click [here] to watch the tutorial. This post is about what’s new in Beta4.

https://vortimo.com/beta4/

[Internal Version c07ae02]. After about 4 months of silence we’re finally ready to let you see Beta 4 of Vortimo. It has been said before – but again – this is most likely the last Beta before we go commercial.

TLDR; – Right click on pages and images and follow prompts. Also sometimes press Ctrl Q.

What’s new in Beta 4? All sort of Really Useful Goodies:

  1. Take a screenshot of a piece of the web page you’re on and annotate it immediately – and it shows up in your report.

You can click on the ‘Screen grab’ item in the nugget – or just hit Ctrl Q.

Select the area you want to capture. If you want to annotate the capture just click on the ‘Note’ button. To finish press ESC or Enter or just click off the frame:

That’s it! Now it’s in the UI – and directly in the report:

This even works for dynamic content – such as important frames in videos or those pesky sites that try to render newspapers… like they’re real newspapers.

2. Sometimes you don’t want to take a picture of the screen – you want to tag the image itself. Think about images where you want to preserve the Exif info – or where images are 2000 x 3000 but it’s rendered in the browser as 256 x 171. Or those ones where you don’t want to upload the image but you want to do reverse image search. For this we made it super easy to tag images – just right click on it. For instance:

Just like the previous method we also you to annotate the image immediately in the browser (if you don’t want to, just hit ESC or click off the text area):

Once you’ve done it – it already shows up in the UI:

And of course – it’s directly visible in the report:

3. We moved page tagging from the nugget into the page itself.

Consistent with the rest of the design we find it’s a lot easier to tag pages by right clicking on the page. Like with the other functions you can annotate the page immediately and without having to go back to the UI:

4. User defined Exif fields.

Seeing the entire Exif of an image is tedious and mostly it’s not that interesting. We created user-define list of Exif fields that ARE interesting. Vortimo will show you these separately so you can see cool stuff immediately:

Above mentioned fields separated from the others. The full Exif still contains everything and all fields are still searchable – but it looks a bit like this:

As new interesting fields are found we’ll add them to the default list (you can add your own too!). If you have a pet Exif field that missing – email us and we’ll add it.

Oh ja – we’ve created a section for Setting. And other cool things. Small things. All good things. We hope you’re going to enjoy using Vortimo Beta 4.

https://vortimo.com/beta4/

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AutoVort

TLDR; Chrome extension that automates your browser. Use in conjunction with Vortimo (or anything else – Hunchly etc). Open source. Find it at https://github.com/Roelof-Temmingh/AutoVort

Tutorial / Use case video below:

Some time ago I wrote a super simple Python script that only took as input a list of URLs and used Selenium to browse to it, and scroll down a bit. What made it interesting was that I could add the Vortimo extension in the Selenium browser. It meant that I could log in to any of the social networks and give the script a list of profiles – and then come back a little later and all the profiles would be indexed inside Vortimo where I could search for any text, pictures, names etc.

I showed the script to someone at a conference and as I was showing it I realized two things – 1) it was VERY useful 2) it would do SO much better as Chrome extension. It meant that you didn’t have to get Python, Selenium etc etc.

About 3 weeks later AutoVort was born! With the right configuration it can of course be used to ‘scrape’ profiles – and that’s against the terms of use of most sites. For that reason we’re not officially supporting it but rather open sourcing it. Feel free to change it how you see fit. If you make useful changes – let us know and we’ll update it so that everyone can win.

For now we’re not hosting the extension on our Chrome Store – but we might in the future.

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Tutorial 2

After the previous grueling 40 minute video you’d think we’d have enough – but there were still a few things missing:

With tutorial 2 in place there is no more excuse to not know how Vortimo works! Click on the screen below to load the video on Youtube.

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Vortimo Tutorial on Test Cricket

In the lastest episode of OSINTCurious one of the participants (Nico – think it was you! ) said that Vortimo needs a bit of a tutorial because it had ‘many buttons’ and looked complex. 🙂 And uhmm – he was using Beta 2. So…..

Since we’re releasing Beta 3 today (again – I know) I thought it would be nice to have some documentation. And we love writing documentation. It’s a real strength. Also such pleasure to write it. And that’s why we didn’t – and created this amazing video:

I know it’s not an excuse for a proper manual (although… isn’t it? ) The video is LONG – it’s a whopping 40 minutes long. However – if you sit through it and play along it will take you 40 minutes to become a Vortimo power user. Unfortunately not everything on the Internet is made to fit into easily digestible 15 second clips.

If you don’t have 40 minutes (busy / lazy / tea) – there’s an index at the bottom of the video, or just play it back at twice the speed. I know that there is a fair amount of waffling and discussing Indian and Australian cricket players – for that I apologize.

I hope this works as interim documentation. Let us know!

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Launching Vortimo (again / for real this time)

Great news! Google has reviewed the extension and – surprise surprise – came to the conclusion that it’s not malware. They also gave us an A+ for logo design (they did not).

It means that we are all good to (re)release Vortimo Beta 3. The Beta 3 web page has been updated – the Chrome store link has been changed to the actual store entry. If you signed up you’ll also get an email with the link. But you’re here right now – so just click below:

http://www.vortimo.com/beta3

If you had access to the Beta 2 extension – your extension should automatically update to Beta 3. Unfortunately you will need to reload all tabs – the ‘restart your computer’ of 2019 – to activate the new extension. The new extension will bitterly complain if you’re running an old version of the server – if so – just download the latest one from the Beta 3 page.

We have also created an amazing Vortimo tutorial – read all about it here:

You could/should still sign up for v1.0 on the Vortimo front page because it makes us happy when people sign up.

Happy hunting!

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(Not) launching Vortimo

We launched Vortimo Beta 3 yesterday – after 10 months of development. But, it turns out that Google had other plans. They marked the Chrome extension as ‘suspect’ – as they should have – we obviously require mad permissions:

If you have the old Beta 2 extension installed and the Beta 3 server running everything should work fine – except you would not get the benefit of the new extension. Meaning no augmented browsing, no heads-up display, no marking of objects. Beta 2 coolness, but not Beta 3 coolness. The old extension also doesn’t honor the ignore list (e.g. sites you don’t want to ever record).

If you have access to Beta 3 and you have installed the server but you can’t install the extension – just wait. Google will hopefully soon approve the extension and then you’re ready to go.

We will keep you up to date via Twitter.

PS: If you don’t have access to Beta 3 – you basically just have to ask. Either beta@vortimo.com or DM @VortimoTech.

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And.. we have a blog

Ye – it’s that typical awkward first post – when you don’t really know if it’s live when you press publish – or what the formatting is like.. or if your name shows up next to it. It’s that post. It’s the post that 10 years later you fondly read and think ‘Wow – it all started with that post’.

Well – let’s hope this is the start of another 10 year project.