Searching LinkedIn for any accounts linked to an email address is a valuable tool for any OSINT practitioner. Internet Investigators have relied upon a number of different ways to do this, including URL manipulation and browser add-ons. The most commonly used method to do this has revolved around the same URL manipulation, which relied upon Sales Navigator for Gmail.
Sales Navigator is a sales tool, designed to allow sales teams to build and nurture customer relationships on LinkedIn. It was recently announced that as of March 2020 Sales Navigator would no longer function within Gmail, due to low usage. Whilst sales teams may not have been using Sales Navigator in its intended sense, OSINT practitioners were using it day-to-day when conducting people searching.
Until today, 08/04/2020, anyone with a LinkedIn account could manipulate a URL to give them the results of a Sales Navigator search for an email address, without having to pay for Sales Navigator. Simply changing the email address at the end of the URL, you could freely query LinkedIn for any email address, to identify if it was linked to a LinkedIn account. The query was as follows:
However, instead of getting the expected result for your query, you are now met with a message stating "Something went wrong while displaying this profile. Please reload or try again later.".
Fortunately, there is another way to search LinkedIn by email address. Since 2017, Sales Navigator has been integrated with Outlook, as well as Gmail. Microsoft owns both Outlook and LinkedIn and a large number of corporations use Outlook for day-to-day activity, so it makes sense for Microsoft to integrate with Outlook rather than Gmail.
The process for searching for LinkedIn accounts by email address using Outlook is as follows:
1. Create a covert Microsoft account at https://account.microsoft.com/account?lang=en-us.
2. Sign in to the web-based version of Outlook using your new covert Microsoft account at https://outlook.live.com/owa/.
3. Within Outlook, go to your contacts section at https://outlook.live.com/people.
4. Create a new contact by selecting "Add a contact" and enter the details of your target, including their email address.
5. Click on the profile photo or letters, seen in the demonstration below as "SA", next to your new contact and within the new sub-window select LinkedIn.
6. Click "Continue to LinkedIn" on the pop-up and then sign in to your covert LinkedIn account, then finally click "Accept".
7. Return to Outlook and the sub-window will now show the LinkedIn profile of any individual who has a LinkedIn account linked to the email address that you entered. If no profile is shown, then no LinkedIn account is linked to that email address.
8. Scroll to the bottom of the sub-window displaying the profile and click the "See full profile on LinkedIn" button
9. The profile will open in a new window in LinkedIn, providing you the URL for their account.
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To learn about how to conduct Internet Investigations legally within the UK, check out my Udemy course OSINT Legal Guidance (UK) at https://www.udemy.com/course/osint-legal-guidance/?referralCode=80CFB5A88A0617EFF1E0.