Visible to the public A Social Network Analysis and Comparison of Six Dark Web Forums

TitleA Social Network Analysis and Comparison of Six Dark Web Forums
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsPete, I., Hughes, J., Chua, Y. T., Bada, M.
Conference Name2020 IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy Workshops (EuroS PW)
Date PublishedSept. 2020
ISBN Number978-1-7281-8597-2
Keywordscentral nodes post, Computer crime, content ranging, criminal interests, cryptography, dark web, dark Web forums, data privacy, drugs, Hacking, Human Behavior, human factors, Instruction sets, interaction graphs, network centrality analysis, online communities, post discussion data, posting activities, privacy, pubcrawl, social interactions, social network analysis, social network analysis tools, social networking (online), structural patterns, Terrorism, Tools, underground communities, whistle-blowing

With increasing monitoring and regulation by platforms, communities with criminal interests are moving to the dark web, which hosts content ranging from whistle-blowing and privacy, to drugs, terrorism, and hacking. Using post discussion data from six dark web forums we construct six interaction graphs and use social network analysis tools to study these underground communities. We observe the structure of each network to highlight structural patterns and identify nodes of importance through network centrality analysis. Our findings suggest that in the majority of the forums some members are highly connected and form hubs, while most members have a lower number of connections. When examining the posting activities of central nodes we found that most of the central nodes post in sub-forums with broader topics, such as general discussions and tutorials. These members play different roles in the different forums, and within each forum we identified diverse user profiles.

Citation Keypete_social_2020