Whether you’re a professional working in cyber investigations, or a business interested in conducting more thorough and efficient external penetration testing, contact prospect solutions such as ContactOut are crucial.
Understanding Pros and Cons
For every tool of the trade, there are unique pros and cons that one must consider. ContactOut seems to have critical strengths and weaknesses that may determine whether it’s a suitable fit for your investigative needs. While I delve into them in-depth later, one of the key pros is contact provision. Many tools give only business email addresses. However, ContactOut distinguishes itself by delivering both personal and corporate email addresses.
In the context of business vulnerability and data protection, ContactOut may be indispensable. Supposing you are conducting an external penetration test, you might need to collect employees’ email addresses. Hackers often scrape platforms like LinkedIn, where they source emails used to launch phishing attacks. This type of attack can provide hackers with initial footholds in a system if a naive worker clicks a link or downloads an attachment.
Tool Extension Versus Standalone Tool
As an investigator, you may need to utilize a combination of tools, including ContactOut, SignalHire, and GetProspect. The tool extensions complement well together, with each tool possessing strengths and weaknesses across different parameters. Therefore, relying on only one solution may leave gaps in your data collection.
Maximizing Job Search Prospects
An exciting use for ContactOut that strays from traditional cyber investigations relates to job searches. When applying for a job, you typically send your resume to a company’s HR department. However, with ContactOut, you can discover personal email addresses of key personnel, like the CEO, heightening your chances of standing out.
The search capabilities of ContactOut supersede those of its competitors. In the tool, you can search for specific people using filters such as their job titles, seniority, locations, skills, and technologies they utilize. This can be beneficial for refining your search and homing in on specific targets.
Discrepancies in Employee Databases
Despite its powerful search features, discrepancies have been noticed with ContactOut. There can be mismatches between the number of employees shown on LinkedIn and those found by ContactOut. Additionally, the final list of emails produced by the tool differs from the number of results found through the tool’s search feature. Some employees and LinkedIn profiles are only discoverable through the extension, not the search tool on the website.
Enrichment and Email Campaigns
Two star features of ContactOut are the ‘Enrichment’ and ‘Email Campaigns’ capabilities. Enrichment allows you to upload a CSV file to find email addresses associated with LinkedIn profile URLs. Conversely, if you have a list of email addresses and wish to find their corresponding LinkedIn profiles, the feature enables that too.
On the other hand, the ‘Email Campaigns’ feature within ContactOut is an excellent choice for recruiters seeking to send mass emails without needing a third-party application.
Summary of Advantages and Improvements Needed
In sum, ContactOut offers a range of benefits but also needs few improvements. Its main advantages include a free plan, offering personal and professional emails, phone numbers, and unique enrichment capabilities. However, the lack of coordination between the extension and the search tool, inconsistencies in search results, and visibility of outdated email addresses need to be addressed to maximize its efficacy.
Using ContactOut could maximally assist in any sort of investigation. However, you must be cognizant of the challenges, which include visibility of old email addresses, discrepancies in employee databases, and limited data export options.