An introduction to the Web as a research and intelligence tool, this first module will guide students through many of the advanced features of both popular and lesser known search tools. In addition to the use of "Boolean" and "Enforced Term Operators," which can significantly impact the results presented by search engines, students will explore the use of meta search tools and Web directories. Students will also be introduced to a number of "Internet Geology" tools essential for mining Open Source Intelligence from the "Deep Web."
Building upon the skills gained during Module 1, this second module will introduce students to the principles of open source research and the intelligence analysis process. As well as guidelines for the critical analysis of internet-sourced information, and the analysis and dissemination of research results, students will examine the structure of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and how search engines can (and sometimes cannot) index individual documents. Website scanning and downloading utilities will be demonstrated, in addition to a number of translation tools, and the Internet Archive. IP addresses and WHOIS lookups will also be introduced.
While online, and in particular, when delving into unknown or possibly interactive environments, the potential to inadvertently become involved in an undercover operation or to begin communicating with other Web users for the purposes of gathering evidence is a very real risk, with very real legal and investigative consequences. Learning how to anticipate and circumvent these online pitfalls is a skill which is gained with experience, foresight, and planning. In many of the online environments examined within this module, the necessity to conceal or obfuscate your identity may arise, and your familiarity with the safe and effective use of proxy servers or Web-based anonymizing tools will assist in these situations. Finally, no online investigation should ever be undertaken without the appropriate consideration given to online safety and security. The use of desktop firewalls, browser security updates, and spyware detection and removal utilities should be compulsory, and investigators should have an appreciation of the online "footprint" left behind when navigating through the Web with the examination of Web server log files and temporary internet files demonstrated in this module.
With a focus on the future of the "Information Age," this module explores Web 2.0 technology and user-generated content, and examines how the attitudes of a new generation of internet users is changing the face of the internet beyond recognition. Email tracing, automated feeds, online chat, and instant messaging are all explored, in addition to the proliferation of online media, where the line between entertainment and evidence can become blurred. Issues surrounding mobile communication technology, wireless internet access, and internet-specific crime trends are also examined in this comprehensive module.