Announcing the 2021 Open Source Award Recipients


Contact: Sara Schaarschmidt, 973.706.7525,

The OSMOSIS Institute Board of Advisors Announces 2021 Open Source Award Recipients

(Wanaque, NJ) The OSMOSIS Institute Board of Advisors is pleased to announce the recipients of the second annual OSMOSIS Open Source Awards for the following categories:

Open Source Intelligence Champion of the Year: Benjamin Strick, Center for Information Resilience

Open Source Technology Innovation of the Year:

Open Source Rising Star of the Year: Mariel Klosterman, Senior at Dakota State University Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences

Open Source Non-Profit of the Year: Network Contagion Research Institute

The awards will be presented in person and streamed live on October 12th at the 7th Annual OSMOSIS Conference, a training and networking event for online intelligence analysts across the globe.

Investigators and analysts rely on open source intelligence (OSINT) to locate and monitor critical intelligence found online from publicly available sources such as newspapers, magazines, trade journals, blogs, non-classified government documents, and social media platforms. OSINT tools, technologies, and monitoring services are invaluable when conducting background checks, tracking down fraudulent activities, and exposing cybersecurity terrorist threats.

“We congratulate the recipients of OSMOSIScon’s 2nd Annual Open Source Awards,” stated Cynthia Hetherington, founder and president of The OSMOSIS Institute. “We were impressed with the number of top quality candidates this year. Our Board Advisors found the selection process rigorous, given the steep competition. We welcome this challenge, as it’s a signal that professionals and companies are achieving extraordinary innovations in open source and social media intelligence.”

Benjamin Strick is recognized as the Open Source Intelligence Champion of the Year for his investment in and commitment to open source intelligence solutions and training that have proven distinguished achievements in investigative case work. Mr. Strick is a digital investigator with a background in law, military, and technology. He specializes in open source intelligence, investigations, geospatial intelligence, influence, and data analysis. He applies these skills to document human rights abuses across the world—working with international media to create multi-award-winning investigative documentaries, to help human rights NGOs, to assist law enforcement, and to tackle disinformation. Mr. Strick shares his passion in digital investigations through training and presenting around the world to a wide range of audiences. He is a Bellingcat contributor and a volunteer investigator with the National Child Protection Taskforce. He shares these skills through his YouTube channel. Mr. Strick is best known for taking down a bot network targeting an independence movement, investigating Cameroon executions, geojournalism, documenting a massacre in Sudan, tracking drones in Libya, investigating arms transfers, identifying China influence networks, investigating propaganda campaigns in India, and finding John McAfee. is the Open Source Technology Innovation of the Year for its innovative solutions contributing to increased open source researchers’ workflow efficiencies and effectiveness. This small product creates answers for large problems, particularly when conducting due diligence investigations. It allows researchers and designers to search code from over a half million public repositories on GitHub quickly, efficiently, and at no cost.

Mariel Klosterman is recognized as the Open Source Rising Star of the Year for her excellent potential through demonstrated investigative skills and talents and leadership at an early stage in her OSINT career. Ms. Klosterman is a senior at the Dakota State University Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences, majoring in Network and Security Administration. Her areas of interest are defensive security and open-source intelligence. Ms. Klosterman has conducted significant research relating to sock puppet accounts, which are an integral part of OSINT and digital investigations. She has organizational experience writing security policies, conducting security assessments, and implementing data protection controls and training. She is an accomplished speaker, presenting on a wide range of topics in the cyber arena to local professional groups including InfraGard South Dakota. Ms. Klosterman is passionate about security and enjoys sharing her knowledge and skills working for CybHER.

Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) is recognized as the Open Source Non-Profit of the Year for its visionary open source work, excelling in serving the organization’s mission, and achieving substantial progress toward improving society and human lives. NCRI identifies and forecasts the threat and spread of misinformation and disinformation across social media platforms. NCRI is committed to identifying emerging threats quickly and forecasts potential risks to empower partners to become proactive in protecting themselves against false narratives that create rifts of distrust that impact institutions, capital markets, public health and safety. During 2020 and continuing through 2021, NCRI’s efforts have exposed significant online extremism in the U.S. culture wars, Russian and Iranian misinformation and disinformation campaigns, anti-Semitic and anti-Chinese propaganda, QAnon conspiracies related to COVID-19 and vaccines, and online threats to global corporate brands.

“Today, our global connections demand a commitment to open source intelligence solutions, diversity, talent, and leadership. Our awardees and many of our nominees are exemplars of these traits and are the present and future of our online intelligence community,” stated Hetherington.

All recipients can participate virtually in the awards ceremony on OSMOSISCon’s Globalcast online event platform.

About the OSMOSIS Institute

Founded by Cynthia Hetherington of Hetherington Group in 2015, the OSMOSIS Institute hosts the annual OSMOSIS Conference to educate, inform and protect investigators and analysts within the cybersecurity industry. Developed by OSINT investigators for the legal, law enforcement, investigative journalism, business and accounting community, the OSMOSIS conference brings together some of the world’s most recognized social media and open source investigative trainers into one valuable educational experience. This gathering of experts offers non-stop training on the dark web, the latest cellular and desktop social media investigations, open source searching, asset research, and borderless possibilities on the international front, plus the legal implications of this.