A while ago while undertaking some amateur OSINT hack research. I stumbled across a website promoting the management team shown below (the domain and company now long forgotten). The site itself was low key, the management profiles were a little over the top. But there was something a little eerie about the team. First I thought it was the photoshopped backgrounds, which is not uncommon for a team photo. I went to close down the window to get back to whatever I was doing, but I couldn't. All I could see was these Cyborg looking dudes staring back at me....like they were straight out of the TV Series V).

Itch needs scratching!

I now had an itch to scratch. Whatever was the most important thing on my list for the day was promptly forgotten.

Time to work out whats up with team Cyborg.

A right-click of google images came up with nadda other than the site from which I was already on.A quick rearrangement of the images starts to make things a little more obvious. There appears to be a fair bit of photoshopping going on. Perhaps they have all had the same nip and tuck...

Digital Nip and tuck

Its not uncommon to remove backgrounds from portrait images, such as adding another image to an existing set of images. Sometimes you, there is little choice but to blend images together. For example, when a team member was away on the day that the photographer booked or the later addition of a new team member.

What is unusual here, is that each person appear exactly the same as you expect if they were photographed on the same day, by the same person.

If thats the case - then why all the shonky photoshopping?

Humpty Dumpty Twins

Also notice how similar the two dudes noggins are? Is it possible that they might be Humpty Dumpty twins?

Completely different but exactly the same?

Now Humpty Dumpty Cyborg twins are spinning me out. They look nothing like each other but exactly the same. Cosmetically one has hair and the othe doesnt. Baldy's mouth is very different to Cyborg 2. Which is confusing if they are Humpty's twin love childs. Maybe Cyborg 1 gets that bit from Mrs Dumpty.

Mr. Potato Head

If you have ever seen Toy Story, you may remember Mr Potato Head - his features would be forever falling off and in different places on his freaky head and body. I'm beginning to think that Cyborgs 1 & 2 have a bit of Mr. Potato's DNA. So that would make them Spudborgs!!

Spudborg 2 (aka Baldy)

For a bit of fun, lets look at the main features that are different between Baldy and Spudborg 1....I mean Mr Potato Head...Its confusing they are all starting to look the same.

Splice & Overlay

A bit of splicing and dicing starts to provide some insight. The dimensions of the Spudborgs appear to be well almost exactly the same (Baldy has had an ear lopped off with Nips and Tucks) but these borgs are looking like one of the same.

Now lets throw Spudborg 3 into the mix. Nice toupee!

    Creating or Augmenting?

    So it appears what is happening is that a baseline image is used and layers of features are overlaid to create/augment the image. With Spudborg 1 & 2 its pretty obvious when you overlay the images that they originate from one. Its not so obvious with Spudborg 3, but overlaid there are some consistencies.

    Spudborg's primary features may have been sourced from another image, but they are definitely the same template and process.

    All the Spudborgs may even be real people roaming around with that empty stare, sans the nip and tuck tweaking. But what I'm sure of is there is lots of tweaking going on and at the very least it is providing the ability to sufficiently modify images so they do not get flagged by google images during an OSINT search.

    Make your own 'Pick & Mix’

    Lets see how easy this it to make a new team. We could start from scratch and use new images to augment, but as we already have so many Spudborgs on hand, might as well use them. Taking Spudborg 4 & 5, I've simply cut each image in half (top left to bottom right), to give the new merged Spudborg a smile, I've cut out #5 smile and overlaid it.

    Absolutely no magic here, and the blend of the two images is well pretty amateur. A little more care, identifying specific purpose apps anyone would be able to knock up pretty decent images. (this is the very first time I've tried to do this and am only using free apps I already had on my desktop). The last image is sans spud5's smile and visually looks like a far different person.

    The playing field

    I knocked up a couple more images and ran them through a free filtering app. As you can see below, you can add borders and different filters effortlessly.

    This is a perfect reminder that whatever tools available to the good guys they are also available to the not so good, the latter have a vested and ongoing interest in leveraging any innovations or technologies that allows them to continue to ply their trade.

    Do you know who you are dealing with online?