While general internet research appears simple, the Web can be very difficult to navigate when searching for timely, accurate, and actionable intelligence.

The complexities of the internet can produce missing information, and a user’s safety, integrity, and privacy can be compromised if they are unaware of the inherent risks that come with online research and investigation.

The most comprehensive internet research and intelligence e-learning program available, Using the Internet as an Investigative Research Tool equips students with the knowledge and techniques required to effectively use the internet as an Open Source Intelligence, research, and investigation tool.

Module 1

Students are guided through many of the advanced search features of both popular and lesser-known search engines, and similar search portals.  Learn about:

  • “Boolean” and “Enforced Term Operators”
  • Meta search tools
  • Web directories
  • The Deep Web
  • Browser options and configurations
  • Differences between the internet and the World Wide Web

Students will be introduced to and will explore:

  • Tools and techniques for searching people and corporations 

Module 2

Building on Module 1 skills, this second module introduces the principles of open source research and the intelligence analysis process.  Learn about:

  • Guidelines for the critical analysis of internet-sourced information and dissemination of research results
  • The structure of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
  • How search engines index individual documents
  • Tools for website scanning, downloading, and translating
  • The Internet Archive and The Wayback Machine
  • Identification of, and search for, IP addresses
  • WHOIS lookups
  • Online data storage tools (critical for the preservation and integrity of online-sourced materials and evidence)

Module 3

While delving into online environments that may be interactive, avoid detection by anticipating pitfalls and concealing your identity with:

  • Use of proxy servers and Web-based anonymizing tools

Piece together a “big picture” from fragmented information gleaned from “user-generated content” sites, such as:

  • Forums, discussion groups, blogs, and social networks

Understand the online “footprint” that is left behind when navigating through the Web.  Ensure online safety and security while while conducting online investigations, with:

  • Desktop firewalls
  • Browser security updates
  • Spyware detection and removal utilities

Video demonstrations, case studies, and interactive practical exercises accelerate learning, along with the examination of Web server log files and temporary internet files.

Module 4

Focusing on the future of the Information Age, students will explore Web 2.0-3.0 technology, and take advantage of the attitudes and practices of the new generation of internet users.  Learn about:

  • Email tracing, online chat, and instant messaging
  • Online media
  • Mobile communication technology, wireless internet access, and internet-specific crime trends
  • Online gaming sites, where real and virtual currency is expended, creating a challenging area of engagement for the justice system
  • Online auction sites and classifieds

Examine personal privacy and data security, in relation to:

  • Identity theft – including phishing, pharming, blue-jacking, and others

Visualize digital networks (or digital fingerprints) with:

  • Maltego

Use essential investigative aids, which provide a framework for all online investigations, including:

  • TII’s “Online Investigator’s Checklist™”
  • TII’s “Online Research Framework™”
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