What is Maltego?

What is Maltego? Maltego is an analysis software that allows searching and linking information on the Internet. The data mining tool visually displays the information found using directed graphs and allows further analysis. Sources for searching information include websites, social networks, search engines, or publicly available databases.

Maltego is a powerful and versatile Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) tool used for gathering, analyzing, and visualizing information about individuals, organizations, and digital footprints.

OSINT tools like Maltego play a crucial role in modern information security and investigative processes, providing a structured approach to accessing publicly available data to uncover hidden connections, vulnerabilities, and potential threats.


The Importance of OSINT Tools

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) tools are indispensable in today’s digital landscape for several reasons:

Information Gathering

OSINT tools like Maltego help collect information from various publicly available sources, such as social media, websites, government records, and more. This data can be used for threat intelligence, cybersecurity, investigations, or simply to gain a better understanding of a subject.


OSINT tools assist in identifying vulnerabilities, assessing digital footprints, and uncovering potential attack vectors. They play a critical role in proactive security measures, helping organizations mitigate risks before they turn into incidents.

Criminal Investigations

Law enforcement and investigative agencies utilize OSINT tools to track down suspects, uncover connections, and build cases based on publicly accessible data.

Competitive Intelligence

Businesses can leverage OSINT tools to monitor competitors, assess market trends, and make informed decisions based on publicly available information.

Threat Assessment

OSINT tools aid in identifying emerging threats, monitoring online discussions, and understanding the threat landscape. This is crucial for national security and counterterrorism efforts.

What is Maltego?

Maltego is a popular OSINT tool developed by Paterva. It’s designed for data mining and information gathering, particularly in the field of digital forensics, cybersecurity, and intelligence. Maltego streamlines the process of collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data from diverse sources to create insightful graphical representations of connections and relationships.

  What is Business Continuity?

Evolution and History of Maltego

Maltego has a rich history of development and evolution:

Early Development

Maltego, originally known as Evolution, was created by Roelof Temmingh in 2006. It was initially designed as a stand-alone application to aid in data mining and link analysis.


The tool quickly gained popularity in the security and intelligence communities, leading to the commercialization of Maltego by Paterva in 2008.

Constant Improvement

Over the years, Maltego has undergone numerous updates and enhancements, making it more powerful and user-friendly. It supports various transforms and integrations with third-party data sources, which can be customized to meet specific investigative needs.

Wide Adoption

Maltego is now widely adopted across various industries, including law enforcement, cybersecurity, threat intelligence, and corporate investigations. It’s valued for its ability to provide a visual representation of complex data relationships, making it easier to uncover insights.

Key Features of Maltego

Data Integration Capabilities

Maltego is renowned for its ability to seamlessly integrate with a wide range of data sources, including online databases, social media platforms, public records, and various other online resources.

Users can access, import, and aggregate data from these sources to build comprehensive profiles of individuals, organizations, or subjects of interest.

Transformations and Entity Types

Maltego employs the concept of “transforms” to process and analyze data. Transforms are predefined or custom scripts that extract, manipulate, and enrich information.

Maltego supports various entity types, including people, organizations, email addresses, IP addresses, websites, and more, allowing users to explore diverse aspects of their investigations.

Graphical User Interface

Maltego’s graphical user interface (GUI) offers an intuitive and visually appealing way to create data linkages and visualize complex relationships. Users can map out connections between entities, run transforms, and analyze data using dynamic, interactive graphs and charts.

Collaboration and Sharing Features

Maltego facilitates collaboration among users by allowing the sharing of graphs and investigation results. This feature is essential for teams working on complex investigations, as it enables the exchange of findings and insights in a structured and easy-to-understand format.

Maltego Editions

Maltego Community Edition (CE)

  • Use Case: The CE is a free version designed for individual users and small-scale investigations. It’s suitable for personal research, students, and hobbyist users.
  • Key Features: Limited access to transforms and data sources, primarily for non-commercial use.

Maltego Classic

  • Use Case: Maltego Classic is ideal for professionals and small to medium-sized businesses. It provides advanced data integration and investigation capabilities.
  • Key Features: Extensive transforms and data source access, customizable configurations, and the ability to work on complex investigations.

Maltego XL

  • Use Case: Maltego XL is a premium edition suitable for larger organizations and enterprises. It offers expanded data analysis and integration features.
  • Key Features: All the features of Maltego Classic, plus access to additional data sources, advanced analytics, and enhanced scalability.

Maltego One

  • Use Case: Maltego One is designed for large enterprises and government agencies. It’s a highly scalable and customizable version of Maltego.
  • Key Features: All the capabilities of Maltego XL, with extensive customization options, enterprise-level support, and the ability to manage multiple users and teams.
  What Is a Digital Signature?

The choice of edition depends on the specific requirements of the user or organization, with the higher-tier editions providing more features, data access, and support for larger-scale investigations.

Using Maltego

Setting up and Installation

  • Download: Visit the official Maltego website and download the appropriate edition (Community, Classic, XL, or One) for your needs.
  • Installation: Follow the installation instructions for your specific operating system (Windows, macOS, or Linux).
  • License Key: Activate your Maltego installation using a valid license key for the commercial editions.

Basic Usage Instructions

  • Creating a New Graph: Launch Maltego and start a new graph for your investigation.
  • Adding Entities: Populate the graph with entities like people, organizations, IP addresses, email addresses, and more.
  • Running Transforms: Right-click on entities to run transforms. Transforms retrieve data from various sources and create new entities or connections.
  • Building Relationships: Connect entities to illustrate relationships or associations.
  • Visualization: Utilize the visual interface to explore data connections and patterns.
  • Analysis: Analyze the graph for insights, and continue to add entities and run transforms as needed.

Data Import and Export

  • Importing Data: Maltego allows importing data from various formats, including CSV files, spreadsheets, and even external data sources through transforms.
  • Exporting Data: You can export your Maltego graphs as images, reports, or structured data for further analysis. This is especially useful
  • for sharing findings with others or for record-keeping.

Maltego in Cybersecurity

Threat Intelligence

Maltego assists in collecting and analyzing threat intelligence by aggregating data from multiple sources. Security professionals can use it to track malicious actors, identify their infrastructure, and monitor cyber threats.


Cybersecurity experts use Maltego for reconnaissance to map out an organization’s digital footprint. This includes identifying IP addresses, domains, email addresses, and associated vulnerabilities.

Incident Response

During incident response, Maltego helps in understanding the extent of a breach, tracing the attacker’s movements, and finding potential indicators of compromise (IoC).

Examples of Threat Intelligence and Reconnaissance

a. Phishing Investigation: Maltego can be used to identify phishing campaigns by tracking suspicious domains, email addresses, and connections to malicious websites. It helps uncover the infrastructure used by threat actors and their targets.

b. IP Geolocation: By analyzing IP addresses, Maltego can provide geolocation data, which is useful for identifying the physical location of servers or potential points of compromise.

c. Domain Analysis: Security teams can investigate domains and their relationships to uncover potential threats. This can include identifying subdomains, registrant information, and known associations with malicious activity.

d. Network Mapping: Maltego can map an organization’s network infrastructure, making it easier to identify vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, or areas susceptible to attack.

e. Social Engineering Defense: In social engineering assessments, Maltego can be used to profile employees, finding information that could be exploited in social engineering attacks.

Maltego in Digital Forensics

Maltego plays a significant role in digital forensics investigations by enabling investigators to collect, analyze, and visualize data from various sources.

  • Data Aggregation: Maltego allows forensic analysts to gather data from multiple sources, including social media, online databases, and public records. This data can be crucial in reconstructing digital footprints and understanding the activities of individuals or organizations.
  • Link Analysis: Maltego’s graph-based visualization helps in understanding the relationships and connections between various entities, such as individuals, devices, IP addresses, and domains. This is vital for establishing patterns and uncovering hidden connections.
  • Identification of Digital Artifacts: Maltego aids in identifying digital artifacts, such as files, documents, and metadata, that can be used as evidence in forensic investigations.
  • Timeline Creation: Forensic analysts can use Maltego to create timelines of events and activities, providing a chronological view of data points, which is essential for building a coherent narrative in investigations.
  • Collaboration: Maltego’s collaboration features enable multiple investigators to work on the same case, share findings, and maintain a centralized repository of information.
  What is Business Email Compromise (BEC)?

Case Studies or Examples

  • Criminal Investigations: In a criminal case, investigators can use Maltego to map out the connections between suspects, victims, and possible accomplices. They can identify communication patterns, shared locations, and financial transactions to build a comprehensive picture of the case.
  • Corporate Espionage: Maltego can be employed to trace the flow of confidential information and identify insider threats within an organization. It can help uncover data breaches and pinpoint the individuals responsible.
  • Incident Response: In the event of a data breach or cyber incident, Maltego can assist in identifying the entry points, malware used, and potential vectors of attack. It helps incident responders understand the scope of the breach and take appropriate action.

Benefits of Maltego

  • Data Integration: Maltego offers access to a wide array of data sources, streamlining the data collection process. This reduces the need to manually search and aggregate data from various platforms.
  • Visual Representation: Maltego’s graphical interface makes it easier to understand complex relationships and patterns, enabling investigators to draw insights from the data more efficiently.
  • Time and Resource Efficiency: Maltego automates data gathering and analysis, saving significant time and resources in investigations. This is especially crucial in cases where time is of the essence.
  • Customization: Users can create custom transforms and entity types tailored to their specific investigative needs, making Maltego a versatile tool for a wide range of cases.
  • Collaboration: Maltego’s collaborative features enable multiple team members to work on a case simultaneously, enhancing teamwork and knowledge sharing.
  • Documentation and Reporting: Maltego provides the capability to generate reports, which can be used in legal proceedings or as part of the investigative process, helping maintain a clear record of findings.

Real-world Use Cases

1. Cybersecurity

  • Application: Maltego is extensively used for threat intelligence, identifying vulnerabilities, and tracking malicious activities. It helps cybersecurity professionals analyze digital footprints, uncover attack vectors, and strengthen network security.
  • Success Story: A cybersecurity firm used Maltego to investigate a data breach. By mapping the attacker’s infrastructure, they were able to identify the source of the breach and take steps to prevent future attacks.

2. Law Enforcement

  • Application: Police departments and law enforcement agencies use Maltego in criminal investigations. It assists in profiling suspects, mapping criminal networks, and tracking illicit activities online.
  • Success Story: In a human trafficking case, investigators employed Maltego to connect individuals and organizations involved in the criminal network. They successfully identified key players and rescued victims.
  What is Spoofing in Cyber Security?

3. Business Intelligence:

  • Application: Businesses use Maltego for competitive intelligence, market research, and due diligence. It helps in identifying potential partners, assessing market trends, and monitoring brand reputation.
  • Success Story: A marketing agency used Maltego to analyze the social media presence of a client’s competitors. This data informed their client’s marketing strategy, resulting in a significant increase in market share.

4. Digital Forensics

  • Application: Maltego is a core tool in digital forensics investigations. It assists in uncovering digital artifacts, tracking digital footprints, and building evidence in cases involving cybercrime or data breaches.
  • Success Story: A digital forensics team used Maltego to analyze the digital footprint of an employee accused of intellectual property theft. The evidence gathered played a crucial role in the legal proceedings.

Maltego and Privacy Concerns

  • Data Privacy: OSINT tools can aggregate publicly available information, but users must be cautious not to infringe upon individuals’ privacy rights. It’s essential to only collect data that is legal and ethical to access.
  • Misuse: There’s the potential for these tools to be misused for malicious purposes, such as doxxing or cyberstalking. Ethical guidelines should be established and followed by users and organizations.
  • Consent: Collecting and sharing data without informed consent can lead to privacy violations. Responsible OSINT practitioners should be transparent about their activities and respect privacy regulations.
  • Accuracy: OSINT tools may not always provide completely accurate data. Relying solely on OSINT data without verifying its accuracy can lead to incorrect conclusions or actions.
  • Cybersecurity Risks: OSINT tools can themselves become targets for cyberattacks, leading to data breaches and privacy concerns. It’s crucial to secure the tools and data to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Different regions have varying regulations regarding data collection and usage. Users of OSINT tools should be aware of and adhere to these regulations.

Maltego vs. Alternatives


  • SpiderFoot: SpiderFoot is an open-source OSINT tool that focuses on automated reconnaissance, data collection, and information correlation. It’s known for its ability to scan and collect data from various online sources.
  • IntelTechniques: Recon-ng: Recon-ng is another open-source OSINT tool with a command-line interface that focuses on data gathering and reconnaissance. It allows users to automate the collection of data from diverse sources.
  • Shodan: Shodan is a specialized search engine for internet-connected devices. While not as versatile as Maltego, it’s a valuable tool for identifying exposed services and vulnerabilities.

Pros of Maltego

  • User-Friendly: Maltego’s graphical user interface is more user-friendly, making it accessible to a wider range of users, including those without extensive technical skills.
  • Customization: Maltego allows users to create custom transforms, enabling tailored data collection and analysis for specific needs.
  • Wide Range of Data Sources: Maltego provides access to an extensive array of data sources and premium data integrations, which can be more comprehensive than some alternatives.
  • Collaboration Features: Maltego offers collaboration and sharing capabilities, making it suitable for team-based investigations.
  • Commercial Support: Commercial editions of Maltego come with professional support and maintenance.

Cons of Maltego

  • Cost: While a community edition is available for free, the commercial versions can be expensive, which might be a limitation for smaller organizations and individuals.
  • Resource Intensive: Maltego can be resource-intensive, and the application’s performance might degrade when handling very large graphs.
  • Learning Curve: While user-friendly, Maltego still has a learning curve, particularly for users who are new to OSINT and data analysis tools.
  • Limited Automation: Some other OSINT tools, especially open-source ones, may offer more extensive automation features, which can be beneficial for repetitive tasks.
  6 Tips on Website Maintenance for Peak Performance & Success

Training and Resources

  • Maltego Official Website: The official Maltego website provides a wealth of resources, including user guides, documentation, and tutorials. You can access these resources for free to learn how to use Maltego effectively.
  • Maltego Academy: Maltego offers a free online learning platform called the Maltego Academy. It includes video tutorials, documentation, and training materials designed to help users of all levels become proficient with Maltego.
  • Maltego Community: Join the Maltego community, where users and experts often share tips, tricks, and best practices for using the tool. You can find support and guidance from experienced Maltego practitioners.
  • YouTube and Online Courses: There are many YouTube channels and online courses that focus on Maltego training. These resources often cover various aspects of using Maltego for OSINT, cybersecurity, and digital forensics.
  • Books and Publications: Look for books and publications on OSINT and Maltego, which can provide in-depth insights and real-world use cases for the tool.
  • Webinars and Conferences: Stay updated on webinars and conferences related to cybersecurity and OSINT. These events often feature Maltego experts who share their knowledge and experiences.

Licensing and Pricing

  • Maltego Community Edition (CE): This edition is free to use and offers limited access to transforms and data sources. It’s suitable for personal and non-commercial use.
  • Maltego Classic: The pricing for Maltego Classic is available on the official Maltego website. It offers more extensive access to transforms and data sources, making it suitable for professional and small to medium-sized business use.
  • Maltego XL: The pricing for Maltego XL is also available on the official website. This edition is designed for larger organizations and offers advanced features, additional data sources, and enhanced scalability.
  • Maltego One: For pricing details of Maltego One, you can contact the Maltego sales team directly. This edition is tailored for large enterprises and government agencies, providing customizable features and comprehensive support.

The specific cost of Maltego Classic, Maltego XL, and Maltego One can vary based on factors like the number of users, additional data source subscriptions, and support levels. It’s recommended to contact Maltego or a reseller for detailed pricing information tailored to your organization’s requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Maltego used for?

Maltego is primarily used for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and data analysis. It helps individuals and organizations gather, analyze, and visualize information from various publicly available sources, making it valuable for cybersecurity, digital forensics, law enforcement, threat intelligence, and business intelligence.

Is Maltego suitable for beginners in OSINT?

Yes, Maltego is suitable for beginners in OSINT. Its user-friendly graphical interface and comprehensive documentation make it accessible to users with various levels of expertise. The Maltego Community Edition is an excellent starting point for those new to OSINT.

  What is Data Protection?

Can Maltego be used for non-cybersecurity purposes?

Absolutely. While Maltego is well-known for its applications in cybersecurity and digital investigations, it is versatile and can be used for non-cybersecurity purposes. It’s valuable for competitive intelligence, market research, academic research, and more.

Are there any free versions of Maltego?

Yes, Maltego offers a free version called Maltego Community Edition (CE). It provides limited access to transforms and data sources and is designed for personal or non-commercial use.

How does Maltego handle data privacy and legality?

Maltego relies on publicly available data, and users are responsible for ensuring that their use of the tool complies with data privacy and legal regulations in their region. It’s important to respect privacy and consent when using OSINT tools like Maltego.

What are the system requirements for running Maltego?

The system requirements can vary based on the edition and data source usage, but generally, Maltego can run on Windows, macOS, or Linux. It requires a reasonable amount of RAM and disk space, as well as an internet connection to access data sources.

Is Maltego compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux?

Yes, Maltego is compatible with all three major operating systems: Windows, macOS, and Linux. Users can choose the version that suits their preferred operating system.

What are the key differences between Maltego Classic and Maltego XL?

The key differences between Maltego Classic and Maltego XL are the level of access to transforms and data sources. Maltego XL offers more extensive access to transforms, more data source options, and enhanced scalability, making it suitable for larger-scale and more complex investigations.

How can one become proficient in using Maltego for investigations?

To become proficient in using Maltego for investigations, you can start by exploring the official Maltego Academy, reading the documentation, and practicing with sample investigations. Additionally, consider joining online communities and forums to learn from experienced users and share knowledge.

Are there any community forums or user groups for Maltego enthusiasts?

Yes, there are several online communities and forums where Maltego users can connect, share experiences, and seek help. These include the Maltego community forum and various OSINT-related communities on platforms like Reddit and LinkedIn, where Maltego enthusiasts often participate in discussions.

Maltego is a powerful and versatile Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and data analysis tool that holds significant importance in the world of information security, digital investigations, and beyond. Here are the key takeaways about Maltego:

  • Versatile OSINT Tool: Maltego is a versatile OSINT tool that enables users to collect, analyze, and visualize data from diverse sources, providing insights into individuals, organizations, and digital footprints.
  • Significant Role in Cybersecurity: Maltego is a crucial asset for cybersecurity professionals, helping them identify vulnerabilities, track malicious activities, and strengthen network security.
  • Indispensable in Digital Forensics: In digital forensics, Maltego assists investigators in uncovering digital artifacts, tracking digital footprints, and building evidence in cases involving cybercrime and data breaches.
  • Useful Beyond Cybersecurity: Maltego’s applications extend to business intelligence, competitive analysis, law enforcement investigations, and various non-cybersecurity domains.
  • User-Friendly: Its user-friendly graphical interface makes it accessible to users with varying levels of expertise, including beginners in OSINT.
  • Customizable and Collaborative: Maltego allows customization through custom transforms and supports collaboration with team members in investigations.
  • Data Privacy and Legal Responsibility: Users must ensure that they use Maltego in compliance with data privacy and legal regulations and respect privacy and consent when accessing data.
  • Multiple Licensing Options: Maltego offers different editions to cater to individual, small, medium, and large organizations, with various pricing options.

In summary, Maltego is a pivotal tool for accessing, analyzing, and visualizing publicly available data, making it an indispensable asset for individuals, organizations, and professionals involved in OSINT, cybersecurity, digital forensics, and various other fields requiring data-driven insights.

Its user-friendly interface, customization options, and collaboration features contribute to its significance in data analysis and investigative processes.