A Beginner’s Guide to Online Investigations

A Beginner’s Guide to Online Investigations
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-01-20
Unit 1 Slide Deck: A Beginner’s Guide to Online Investigations
Unit 2 Transcript: A Beginner’s Guide to Online Investigations
Unit 3 Workbook: A Beginner’s Guide to Online Investigations
Unit 4 Recording: A Beginner’s Guide to Online Investigations

For most, the concept of online research is just merely doing a Google search and then rummaging through the millions of search results that it returns. This session aims to understand the operational environment of the internet and unpack more efficient and effective techniques to maximize research efforts.

This session’s instructors are Ntrepid’s Training Analysts, Erin Monahan and Trent Hayden. Erin supports Ntrepid by working closely with organizations to understand their challenges and implement Ntrepid’s solutions into existing customer workflows. Meanwhile, Trent works with Ntrepid customers to gain further insight into how Ntrepid products can be improved to meet the needs of various customer missions.

Topics discussed on this webinar include:

  • The concepts of digital fingerprint and behavioral footprint that make up an individual’s online attribution.
    • The information communicated as part of your digital fingerprint through your device, browser, cookies, and applications.
    • Open-source tools that will allow you to see what your digital fingerprint looks like.
    • Indicators associated with and characteristics that comprise your behavioral footprint.
    • A glimpse into the types of information that Google Analytics can capture in your online activity.
  • A demonstration of how online activities communicate information about users to different online actors directly and indirectly.
  • Managing our online attributions by acknowledging three considerations that relate to the dynamic online environment, the risks and opportunities that come with online activities, and the available technical and operational solutions.
  • Mapping the operational environment and understanding the distinct qualities of the clear web, the deep web, and the dark web based on the accessibility of information in each of these.
  • The means to maintain anonymity and encryption in the dark web and debunking myths that gave the dark web a nefarious reputation.
  • Looking at one aspect of the deep web, social media.
    • The opportunities and risks of these platforms.
    • What social media does with the information they collect from their users.
    • Safeguards they put into place related to user authenticity.
    • An exercise on spotting an authentic account from a fake one based on user behavior.
  • Conducting effective clear web research through Boolean Search and reverse image search.
    • Conduct better search engine researches using Boolean Search Operators.
    • Using reverse image search to validate the authenticity of online accounts and activities.

Webinar attendees had questions about:

  • Preserving web pages for investigative purposes.
  • Firefox Lightbeam’s capability to show all the third-party sites that may be collecting information.
  • Online attribution for phones and apps.
  • The security aspect of using The Onion Router.
  • Pulling down individual online attributions.
  • Secure browsers to use.





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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Speakers were very well versed in the topic, spoke well and clearly and delivered the information in a clear and concise manner. Although this topic is very diverse and complicated, they presented enough information to allow the audience to have a beginner’s knowledge of the topic.” — Andrea
  • “I was new to the entire topic and it was outstanding!” — Anna
  • “So much information! VERY knowledgeable speakers! Very un-nerving – what your digital footprint will tell about you! – As you are directed toward similar pathways. Please continue to offer more training on this topic. Just like the one slide – this is just the tip of the iceberg!” — Roseann
  • “I had a great time trying to distinguish between the two fake profiles. That was my favorite part of the webinar. Erin and Chris did a great job!” — Erika
  • “Clear explanations of information instead of tech talk. The social media presence exercise was thought-provoking.” — Felecia
  • “ALL of the information was great!! I have no idea anything about the other sides of the web. I appreciate you all taking the time to go through it with us and giving examples.” — Jen
  • “It had never been laid out to me and I had not previously understood that social media was part of the deep web. I gained tips and tools for safer, more responsible personal and professional web browsing.” — Linzee
Additional Resources
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