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What's Boolean logic? And how do I use it in Echosec/Beacon?

Everything you need to know about Echosec and Beacon's Boolean logic.

What is Boolean logic?

About 200 years ago, George Boole, the "forefather of the information age", discovered the concept of Boolean logic. Today, anything that uses an electrical circuit relies on Boolean logic. It is centered around three simple words known as Boolean Operators: “And,” “Or”, and “Not”.

  • AND: All data points are present, exclusive.
  • OR: Any data point present, inclusive.
  • NOT: one data point is present but not the other. (In Echosec and Beacon, use "-" in lieu of NOT before an undesired word to exclude it from your search results)
Boolean logic within Echosec

Let’s say we are part of Amazon’s Global Investigations and Security team looking for stolen goods.

We could use Boolean logic to conduct a search such as this:

  • “Amazon” AND steal OR “Amazon" AND stole OR “Amazon” AND stolen

amazon

Note: At the moment, it's necessary to repeat each set of keywords in the chain, as demonstrated in the screenshot above. Beacon currently has the functionality to use brackets to create the same logic (see below).

Boolean logic within Beacon

Here's the same sentiment expressed through Beacon's Boolean logic:

  • Amazon AND (steal OR stole OR stolen)

beacon-4

Additional tips for Boolean logic use
  • You must capitalize "AND" and "OR" in your boolean logic statements.
  • The operator "NOT" is to be used by using an "-" before the undesired word. 

Ex: This Beacon search demonstrates the use of excluding the word "Paypal"

minus

  • Use Boolean logic to incorporation various spellings or misspellings of a brand name into one comprehensive search

Ex: "Chick-fil-a" OR "chic-fil-a" OR "chick fil a" OR "chic fil a"

chick fil a-1

  • Use of quotations in Boolean logic

When you use quotations around any given phrase, our Boolean logic indicates that the results must return that exact phrase in that exact order. It's a good rule of thumb to always structure your searches to include phrases with quotations, whether you're referring to a specific name or a specific phrase.

Ex: "Let the cat out of the bag"

By including this phrase in quotations, we ensure that all of our posts will be referring to this popular phrase, as opposed to posts merely containing words such as "cat" or "bag".

cat out of the bag