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Investigations in the Deep Web: Your Questions Answered

More secrets for finding the hidden information in the deep web without revealing your identity

Posted by Dawn Lomer on October 2nd, 2012

Last week, we hosted a webinar entitled Online Investigations Using Deep Web Searches, with expert online investigator Cynthia Hetherington as presenter. Over the course of an hour, Cynthia addressed some of the techniques and tools she uses for finding the hidden information online that requires patience and tenacity to uncover – information that may not be indexed by Google.

We saw a record number of attendees in the session and the interest level was so high that there were too many questions for Cynthia to address in the one-hour time slot we had allocated. Cynthia has been kind enough to address some of the items that she couldn’t get to during the webinar, so today’s blog post is dedicated to clearing up those remaining questions about stealth, privacy and security when conducting online investigations.

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  1. When investigating do you surf anonymously using a proxy in order to conceal your identity? I use Tor to hide my IP address.  It’s a free resource found at  Just remember to read the FAQ before using it.  It is not completely infallible.
  2. How are you able to maintain a fake Facebook account and avoid their verification requirements? Create a separate email address for the new account.
  3. How do you investigate organizations who host their websites on privately owned servers? (Self-owned servers that can be shut down by choice.) Once I identify the server as being a private server, I explore the other sites it is hosting. However, it really depends on the type of case you are working on. In the end, a subpoena/search warrant may be necessary.
  4. When you are searching for information, shouldn’t you always hide your IP address? i.e. DO NOT USE Several past students have complained that they had malware downloaded on their computer from this site. Use Tor, it’s transparent.
  5. Do you know of any UK specific material that I can read through? Try
  6. Is there a similar online site to BRB in Canada? Unfortunately not that comprehensive. BRBPublications does have some links for Canada, as does Searchsystems.
  7. Does Facebook, like LinkedIn, have the ability to block your identity to “anonymous” when viewing other pages? Facebook already blocks your identity from being seen by the users you are viewing.  It is part of their Terms of Service in order to maintain your privacy.

To watch the complete webinar, go to

Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Manager of Communications

Dawn Lomer is the Manager of Communications at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.

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