Tag Archives: Reviews

Covert Contact Reviewed

Covert Contact got a very thorough workout by security engineer Ali-Reza Anghai:

you should know what type of paces I put Cover Contact through – and with the exception of outages for improvements, it held up really well.

  • Intentionally created noise, noise accounts, and spam
  • Left monitors open in a few browsers for extended periods of times
  • Requested and tested minor modifications
  • Monitored evolving situations in real-time
  • Monitored and cross-references lesser trafficked issues historically
  • Used Twitter features (e.g. retweet) from w/i the interface
  • Side-by-side comparison with equivalent features in peer services
  • Tested compatibility with various browser plugins (some trouble)
  • Tried to take over a topic of emergent feed

And Covert Contact still did what it was supposed to do well and, as mentioned before, the founder is clearly annoyed by the sames things that annoy me so I expect if it can be done well – Covert Contact will do it well.

Ali goes into quite a lot of detail about the Pros and Cons as he sees them and we are mostly in agreement. In fact, one of his issues has been addressed today with the addition of an official privacy policy.

And to be clear our financial transactions are managed by PayPal. When you subscribe they send us your name and email address but not your financial information or physical address. This allows us to create your account but leaves the heavy security issues in their hands. We think this is the easiest and safest route for our customers at this stage of our development. Once received, your name and email will not be shared. They will not even be used by Covert Contact for additional marketing efforts. Covert Contact will only use that information to communicate with you regarding the creation and maintenance of your account.

Now, back to some of those Pros:

  • Covert Contact manages signal to noise for you – I’d conservatively say that even on the noisiest topics it was 70/30 in favor of signal, with the usual high-repeats filtered out pretty well. And with topics like “Cyberwar” there can be a lot of nonsense noise in the mix on top of the prevalent spam so this is no small feat.
  • Covert Contact has a useful output format – The three and seven column output cycles at a good pace, doesn’t lose the “best of” the past day or so, and scales horizontally in a nicely readable format. For a first pass at usable, it did nicely. This has been a big issue for me in other systems, not enough history on a topic, bad handling of foreign languages, poor handling of tweet formatting, slow.. Cover Contact does well in all those areas.
  • Covert Contact is affordable – At $10 month with customizations options also being quite affordable it’s far and away the best value in this space I’ve found. While various free options might work for quick research, and well, nothing quite works this well for a continuous need on numerous topics. And the support available for emerging topics and needs is solid.
  • Covert Contact is UNBIASED – If you’ve been looking at OSINT meta-sources as long as I have you notice editorial bias even in search services. So far it’s been totally non-existent here and that’s another big plus for me. I can find the nasty, the pretty, and get my own “sentiment” reading in short order.

There’s more on Ali’s site (like we said – he’s thorough). You can also follow him on Twitter.