Understanding the Dark Web: Challenges & Case Studies for Justice Professionals

Understanding the Dark Web: Challenges & Case Studies for Justice Professionals
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-08-25
Unit 1Slide Deck: Understanding the Dark Web
Unit 2Transcript: Understanding the Dark Web
Unit 3Workbook: Understanding the Dark Web
Unit 4Recording: Understanding the Dark Web

Webinar Video Clip: Understanding the Dark Web


What criminals have always wanted is for their activities to remain undetected. This makes committing these crimes online somewhat inevitable – some of the people we tend to communicate with online aren’t ones that we necessarily know, hiding behind a username, a fake persona, or a stock photo as profile image. The level of anonymity is further strengthened once the online transactions are done on the dark web level where everything is encrypted a few couple of times ensuring the identity and location of the sender, as well as the destination of information, are untraceable.

Dr. Sean Goodison, from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), is this session’s instructor to provide an introduction to the Dark Web. Dr. Goodison is the Deputy Director and Senior Research Criminologist at the PERF where he leads initiatives on data collection, research, program evaluation, and police use of technology.

Specifics he tackled in this webinar are:

  • Understanding what the dark web is – what it is in technical terms, contrasting it with the surface and deep web, how to access it, what can be found within, and how it creates anonymity.
  • How the dark web was originally created with noble intentions to provide secure means of communication and access to information.
  • The bad side of the dark web that gave rise to criminal activity enabled by the general population’s unfamiliarity with it and the layers of encryption in this platform.
  • The challenges that law enforcement face when it comes to dark web investigations.
    • Lack of awareness, literacy, and skill on the technology.
    • The distinct characteristic of the technology that prevents tracing who is committing illegal activity and where it is being done.
    • The complexity of investigation in a ‘place’ where there are no archiving and no clear-cut jurisdictional lines.
  • Case studies of the two of the biggest dark web marketplace seizures that illustrate how traditional detective work, technical skills and inter-agency collaboration can yield large-scale successes and takedown million-dollars’ worth of illegal trades.
  • The NIJ’s effort through its workshops to bridge the gap for law enforcement to better handle dark web crimes through skills, standards, resources, and best practices.
  • How doxing is done on the dark web.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “I learned a lot. This is not a training topic that I have ever had a chance to visit. I would like to learn more on the Human Trafficking side of things.” — Aaron
  • “He really made the topics approachable (e.g. using layperson language) while maintaining the depth of concepts. Really a fantastic presentation. I enjoyed it.” — Anita
  • “I liked that he talked about LE takeover and showed what it looked like in addition to the meat and potatoes of what the Dark Web is and what purposes it serves.” — Sarah
  • “A good overview of the Dark Web and case studies. I am one of the 2% that was “very familiar”. I always learn something new.  …I learn a lot from the questions other folks ask in these events.” — Frank


Additional Resources
1 year ago
After the Webinar: Understanding the Dark Web. Q&A with Dr. Sean Goodison
Webinar presenter Dr. Sean Goodison answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Unde […]
2 years ago
An In-depth Look at Darknet Marketplaces
Webinar Video Clip: An In-Depth Look at Darknet Marketplaces   In his previous webinar, […]
2 years ago
Introduction to Dark Web Investigation
You probably have seen the Iceberg image going around online about the Dark Web. It exudes a sense o […]
2 years ago
Online Enticement: Examining Risk Factors and Vulnerabilities of Minors in a Technological World
Online enticement involves an individual communicating with someone believed to be a child via the i […]
3 years ago
The Online Enticement of Children: Trends and Patterns from an In-depth analysis of NCMEC CyberTipline Reports
Our lives are largely online now, and so are our children’s – and their innocence is being explo […]