The Poor Man’s Brand Monitoring Solution – Part 1

Every day there are news stories published about some poor sod having their sensitive information posted online. Whether it is your home address, or a full database leak from you’re favourite webmail provider, you’re up the creek without a paddle. Why wait for the affected organisation to come clean about a breach after stolen information is posted online?

This is where brand monitoring steps in. Many organisations offer paid-for services that employ basic web crawling or alerting provided by other parties. Why pay these organisations when you could set it up yourself? In this article, we are going to look at how to set up the most basic form of brand (or keyword) monitoring using only free services. Whether you are using this to monitor your own identity or you are looking at using it to aid the reputational posture of your organisation, this guide can be applied to everyone. This series will be split into a few posts, one post for each service. Let’s crack on with number one. Click more to continue…

Service 1 – Pastebin
For the past few years Pastebin has been the dump site of choice for many hacker groups (LulzSec, Anon etc.) due to the popularity of the site and the ease of pasting a vast amount of information anonymously and without registration.

Pastebin offers both a free and paid for alerting service. The free option allows you to alert on 3 keywords (as opposed to 15 for Pro members) whenever a new paste is posted that contains your set criteria, this will consist with an email being sent to the email address used at registration. There is a caveat to this free service, Pastebin automatically disable a specified keyword alert upon the 10th email generation, so be careful with what you choose to alert on.

To set this service up, create an account at and verify your email address with the service. Once set up and logged in, select the “my alerts” button on the navigation bar, you should see a pane similar to the one shown in the screenshot below.

SCRNSHT - Pastebin - Alerts

To set up your alerts, simply populate the keyword fields with strings longer that 4 characters. Something to note, the keywords are not case sensitive and using generic terms will be very noisy. Ideally your keywords should be as granular as possible, taking care not to use words that would be detected in posts that are not of interest.

For example, if you wanted an alert to trigger when someone posts a dump containing email addresses of your employees, you would set a keyword along the lines of “”.

Once you’ve completed the form, simply submit and wait for something to trigger. To test the process, use a generic keyword like “download”, that will generate quite a few alerts!

Part 2 will be up soon! To receive all updates from Chimera Security, follow @ChimeraSecurity or add as an RSS feed. As always, your feedback or tips would be appreciated!

– J

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