February 15, 2021
Dark web monitoring has become an integral part of today’s investigations by analysts and investigators alike, which requires dark web monitoring tools to get the information they need. Many treat actors are hiding in the dark web, which is part of the deep web. The dark and deep web combined accounts for 90% of all web content. But these analysts and investigators are facing numerous challenges when conducting their investigations. They need to extract, process, and analyze vast amounts of unstructured web data to get critical insights. They must be able to browse the dark web securely and anonymously for collecting relevant web data while leaving minimal digital footprints behind that might alert threat actors or groups being researched. Last but not least, they also need to organize the findings for follow-up, which is a tedious and time-consuming process. In other words, they need dark web monitoring tools to operate in a secured environment while conducting their investigations in a compliant and efficient way.
When selecting a dark web monitoring tool, they need to look for the following features:
Darknet Search Engine
The dark web consists of IP addresses that are routable, but not in use. Basically, it is a repository of hidden websites that can only be accessed with special software. This means that standard web browsers cannot to be used. To access the dark web, a darknet search engine is needed, such as TOR (The Onion Router), which hardly leaves a trace behind.
Leveraging Information on OSINT Websites
For their investigations, analysts and investigators need to collect relevant data from open-source websites, which must be analyzed for actionable insights. They need open-source intelligence tools (such as those incorporated in the WEBINT platform of Cobwebs) to collect data from the dark web for open source intelligence.
Ability to Get Real-Time Insights
Like all other netizens, threat actors and the like use dark web sources to communicate with each other, purchase or sell illicit goods and services, and plan and execute illegal activities. Stolen goods, such as data collected from cyberattacks, are posted or auctioned on dark web forums. That’s why the dark web monitoring tool must be able to search dark web sources to get insight into the activities, behavior patterns, and sentiment of threat actors to collect real-time actionable intelligence.
Assistance with Digital Risk Analysis
For organizations (such as banks and financial institutions that have to comply with the various stringent anti-money laundering (AML) and terror financing laws and regulations), the dark web monitoring tool should also be able to assist with digital risk analysis. Organizations use this type of analysis for improving customer experience, increasing revenues, and reducing costs. To get insight into their digital risk status in real-time, big data from the dark web must be collected and analyzed. The WEBINT platform of Cobwebs can quickly and accurately harness and analyze these vast amounts of data in near real-time, displaying the results in a user-friendly GUI for follow-up.