Working with the Dark Web

Open enrolment and in-house options available

The Dark Web is one of the most challenging environments for OSINT practitioners to work in. This three-day course will give you the tools and strategies needed to investigate Tor-based entities and resources. You will learn how to plan and execute a Dark Web investigation in a legal, secure and rigorous manner. You will also be shown how to leverage surface web resources to help you investigate and monitor Dark Web targets.

Course Outline

Understanding the Dark Web and Tor

Introduction to Dark Web

  • Tor and other dark web entry points
  • Debunking myths and misconceptions
  • Learning terminology
  • Understanding risks and challenges

The Tor Network

  • The history of Tor
  • The structure and mechanics of Tor
    • Nodes
    • Relays and bridges
    • Onion routing
    • Directory servers

Tor Resources

  • Hosting services
  • Email and messaging services
  • Social networks
  • Tor marketplaces
  • Forums and discussion boards
  • Chat rooms
  • Websites, blogs, wikis
  • Popular “legal” Tor resources
  • Monitoring for new Tor resources

Planning and Conducting Dark Web Investigations I

Prepping for Investigations

  • Planning your investigation
  • Configuring your laptop
  • Installing and launching Tor
  • Creating your online persona
  • Working with virtual machines
  • Working with the Tails OS
  • Working with alternatives to Tails
  • Maintaining a track record of an investigation
  • Managing data and knowledge

Configuring Tor’s Security Settings

  • Tor's security features
  • Tor's vulnerabilities
  • Two-way anonymity
  • Safeguarding your activity on Tor
  • Using Tor with a VPN

Finding Onion Sites

  • Gateway sites
  • Tor search engines
  • Directories and link lists
  • Dark web news sites
  • Dark web-focused interest communities
  • Working with pastebins
  • Other types of specialist resources

Planning and Conducting Dark Web Investigations II

Principal Investigative Strategies and Approaches

  • Investigating unique identifiers
  • Content and text analysis
  • Metadata analysis
  • Link and relationship analysis
  • Requirements and gap analysis
  • Web monitoring and entity tracking
  • Investigating cryptocurrency transactions
  • Validating data and content
  • Extracting and examining code

Investigative Workflows

  • Investigating individual users
  • Investigating vendors and marketplaces
  • Investigating products and services
  • Investigating illicit behavior
  • Investigating multimedia content
  • Investigating websites
  • Investigating forums and discussion boards

Extending Your Toolkit

  • Alternate browsers and investigative tools
  • Third party solutions

Course Details

Who is this Course For?

This course is limited to security, intelligence and law enforcement professionals tasked with investigating the Dark Web. Researchers, journalists, and private investigators interested in using the Dark Web for their work will be admitted upon verification.

How You Benefit

On completion of this course you will have the ability to:

  • Understand how to access and navigate the Dark Web
  • Understand the strengths and limitations of the Tor network
  • Plan and conduct rigorous and legal Dark Web investigations
  • Investigate a broad range of Tor-based entities and resources
  • Use virtual machines and Tor-optimised OSs for enhanced security

What You Receive

  • A full set of slides / user guides in PDF
  • An index of Dark Web access points and search strategies
  • Tip sheets and cheat sheets to enable rapid learning
  • Templates to capture, organise and validate the data collected
  • Six months of post-course support

Course Prerequisites

This course assumes participants have a working knowledge of general OSINT tools and strategies. Experience conducting online investigations would also be an advantage. Participants wishing to take this course are encouraged to take our OSINT: Foundations course as well as our Social Media Intelligence and Online Investigations courses as a prelude to the Dark Web course.

Course Requirements

Please bring a Windows or Mac laptop and ensure you have full administrative rights to this device. Additional software requirements will be sent prior to the start of this course.