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September 8th, 2017 meeting

Fri, Sep. 8, 2017 2:00pm — 4:00pm

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September 8th, 2017


2:00pm to 4:00pm (PDT)


SAP Canada Inc.

910 Mainland Street, V6B1A9, Vancouver B.C.

Please be punctual for entry to the meeting room

RSVP Required – register at Eventbrite


Lighting up the Dark Web: Mapping the Life-cycle of Dark Websites in Search of Violent Extremist Content


Dr. Richard Frank



The internet has been used for many malicious activities by bad actors and extremists. The hidden anonymous section of the Internet, the Dark Web, further provides extremists with security and anonymity online which can be used for enhanced communications or access to Dark Websites. Some Dark Websites have been previously analyzed by researchers to uncover illicit websites which are speculated to facilitate criminal activity. Describing these serves a valuable purpose but does not allow for broader speculations about the criminogenic nature of the environment and the dismantling of these websites. Examining the life-cycle of these websites, in connection with their criminal content, is a small step towards providing insight into how much of a criminal threat these websites pose.

The thought is, if some websites are criminogenic but short-lived, then they should not warrant investigative resources over long-lived criminogenic websites. This is what the current study starts to do: controlling for structure, popularity and size, we analyze the life-cycle of 774 Dark Websites to understand how to prioritize. We found that Dark Websites failed (went offline) often, but their failure was a function of popularity and size rather than criminality. Some criminally focused Dark Websites did survive longer than legal websites. Extremists may use these to facilitate terrorist actions both domestically and internationally, but there are challenges to finding this content which may not align with their goals.




Richard Frank is Assistant Professor in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Canada and Associate Director of the International CyberCrime Research Centre (ICCRC). He is also Associate Editor-in-Chief of Security Informatics. Dr. Frank completed a PhD in Computing Science (2010) and another PhD in Criminology (2013) at SFU. His main research interest is Cybercrime. Specifically, he's interested in hackers and security issues, such as online terrorism and warfare.

Dr. Frank has publications in top-level data mining outlets, such as in Knowledge Discovery in Databases, and security conferences such as Intelligence and Security Informatics (ISI). His research can also be found in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, and the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, to name a few.



A portion of this meeting will be dedicated to the AGM.

RSVP Required – register at Eventbrite