Using the Internet as an Investigative Research Tool™ - Module 3
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.