Advanced Analysis of Darknet Forums

Tori Tompkins
BSc Forensic Computing

The darknet, or darkweb, is a subset of the deep web made up of several networks (eg Tor, Freenet, I2P) which encrypt, decentralise and anonymise network communication specifically for illicit purposes. Forums consist of around 5% of the Tor darknet yet are largely unexplored in current academia.

For the purpose of this paper, a python web crawler was created to collect the heterogeneous communication data from three different forums on the darknet, Tor. The 60,000+ threads and posts, stored in an SQL database, have then been analysed using three major data science concepts: social network analysis, latent semantic analysis and statistical analysis to gather an insight into how and why darknet forums are being used.

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