Dark Web Monitor

Dark Web Monitor provides Strategic Insights and Operational Perspectives

Dark Web Monitor

Dark Web Monitor is an open-source intelligence (OSINT) platform that provides strategic insights and operational perspectives into criminal and fraudulent activities arising from exploitation of the Dark Web and Virtual Assets, accessible here:

Dark Web Monitor is accessible via the Dark Web Solutions platform: https://dws.pm

Encrypted darknets, like Tor or I2P, have become a safe-haven for criminals who exploit technical anonymity. Their criminal activities range from child abuse and drugs trafficking to large scale financial crimes, affecting both cyberspace and the physical world. Consequently, with these opportunistic actions becoming more sophisticated, there is a prevalent need for improved Dark Web monitoring capabilities to gain an edge over these criminals. Dark Web Monitor supports organizations in the areas of law enforcement, cybersecurity and finance where suspicious activities are taking place allowing them to zero in on suspicious infrastructures by employing advanced analytics to investigate digital traces for disruption and prosecution.

Strategic Insights on Abuse Types within the Dark Web

History of
Dark Web Monitor

Operational technology for law enforcement and security with a long history

Ideation: 2013 – 2016

Silk Road, regarded as the first dark market, began operating as a Tor hidden service in 2011 and subsequently rose to notoriety as the internet’s biggest market for illegal drugs. In October 2013, it was taken down by the first large scale police operation of its kind. Earlier on in 2013, the need for Dark Web crawlers to monitor such illegal activities had already been identified by The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). The researchers had recognized that a key plank in developing OSINT capabilities for law enforcement and security professionals was to collect and analyze data from the Dark Web to acquire actionable intelligence, and had set about doing so. One of the earliest technical needs identified was for a long list of Dark Web domain addresses, or onion addresses. The experiment proved successful and led to Dark Web Monitor, which provided foundational insights and understanding of the nature of the Dark Web. The following screenshots illustrate early conceptualizations of Dark Web Monitor in 2014.

Concept Development and Experimentation during early days of Dark Web Monitor

Proof of Concept: 2017 – 2019

In 2017, the Dark Web Solutions programme was established to validate the proof of concept for Dark Web Monitor with the international Law Enforcement community. The programme was supplemented by training and research activities. The main channel for reaching the international community was INTERPOL, in particular, the INTERPOL Working Group on Dark Web and Virtual Assets. This working group was established to disseminate good practices among law enforcement agencies throughout the world. In order to fully realize Dark Web Monitor’s potential, the community recognized the importance of defining specific use cases to translate the data collected by the web crawlers into actionable information. Dark Web Monitor gained initial traction during this phase, and the next step was to make it available as an operational technology. This was effected through a license agreement between TNO and CFLW Cyber Strategies.

Proof of Concept phase characterized by testing of new features with the international Law Enforcement community

Operational Security Technology: 2020 onwards

Since January 2020, CFLW Cyber Strategies has taken over the day-to-day administration and ongoing development of Dark Web Monitor. From a proof of concept, it has evolved into an operational security technology that is robust, up-to-date, and future-proof. Such rigor is achieved through close collaboration with various law enforcement agencies from Germany, Singapore, and the Netherlands. As a result, Dark Web Monitor is fit for daily use and able to meet the operational requirements of agencies throughout the world. Due to all of its enhancements, Dark Web Monitor delivers the broadest overview of Dark Web activities available on the market, serving as a wayback machine for the Dark Web in connection with several successful law enforcement investigations. To access Dark Web Monitor, you may begin here:

Dark Web Monitor is a key CFLW Intelligence Service for organizations in Law Enforcement, Cybersecurity and Finance

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