Story image

CSU to explore Dark Web's underbelly after unprecedented interest from students

16 Feb 2018

IT Masters and Charles Sturt University (CSU) will plunge headfirst into the Dark Web this year, and it appears IT professionals are inherently curious about the ‘controversial’ subject.

The subject is part of a Cyber Security Masters degree and has attracted ‘unprecedented interest’ from IT professionals.

IT Masters director Martin Hale says The Dark Web “is a complex, mysterious and dynamic domain where cyber criminals create, share, buy and sell their wares”.

“It’s a hidden economy where anonymous marketplaces trade in everything from illegal drugs, hacking tools, ransomware scams, personal data, forged documents and industrial secrets.”

The Dark Web is also where the majority of business risks are born, including malware and Denial of Service attacks.

Hale believes that around $72 billion of illegal activity ever year is conducted in Bitcoin – and much of that is connected to activity on the Dark Web.

“Every security manager for every IT organisation would be negligent not to have some understanding of the Dark Web and its potential to impact their operations. One of the best ways to start effectively combating Dark Web threats and cracking down on the illegal marketplaces is to increase the pool of people who have a detailed understanding of what it is and how it operates,” he explains.

The course has apparently struck a chord with those enrolling in the Masters degree, as more than 80% of applicants enrolled in the Dark Web course as their first subject.

It covers a number of topics including an introduction to the Dark Web and its threats; the malicious Dark Net; data analysis of web content; Dark Web forensics; and open source intelligence.

However, the course may never have got off the ground because there was serious internal debate within CSU’s School of Computing and Mathematics about whether the course should even be offered.

“When we proposed running this course, we expected to come up against resistance because of the sensitivity of the subject matter. In the end, however, the school decided that it was important that graduates had an in-depth knowledge of how the cyber-crime economy functions,” explains Hale.

The course will be taught by Dr Rafiqul Islam, leader of the cybersecurity research team at the School of Computing and Mathematics.

“In 2017, the US Department of Defence requested $8 billion in funding to address national security issues relating to internet crime. There is a massive and growing dark economy functioning behind a veil of secrecy enabled by advanced technology and ruthless cyber criminals,” Islam says.

He adds that students will also learn about cyber stalking, hacktivism, fraud, identity theft, and attacks on critical infrastructure. IoT and peer to peer file sharing systems will also be part of the course.

“We will be analysing the online underground economy, the digital currencies it thrives on and cybercrime on the dark web. Students will also delve into the technological and social engineering methods used to undertake such crimes and they will also study dark web forensics and mitigating techniques,” Islam concludes.

Kinetica launches a new active analytics platform
"With the platform now powered by NVIDIA DGX-2, customers can build smart analytical applications that combine historical data analytics and ML-powered analytics."
Avi Networks: Using visibility to build trust
Visibility, also referred to as observability, is a core tenet of modern application architectures for basic operation, not just for security.
Zoom’s new Rooms and Meetings features
Zoom has released information about the upcoming releases for its Rooms and Meeting offerings for 2019.
Aussie company set to democratise direct-to-orbit IoT access
Adelaide-based Myriota has released a developer toolkit that has been trialled and tested by a smart waste management platform.
Dynatrace takes pole position in APM Magic Quadrant
It placed highest on Ability to Execute and furthest on Completeness of Vision in the 2019 Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring (APM).
HCL and Xerox expand strategic partnership
Under the terms of the agreement, HCL will manage portions of Xerox’s shared services, including global administrative and support functions.
Avaya expands integration with Google Cloud AI
This includes embedding Google’s machine learning within conversation services for the contact centre, enabling integration of AI capabilities.
Inspur announces AI edge computing server with NVIDIA GPUs
“The dynamic nature and rapid expansion of AI workloads require an adaptive and optimised set of hardware, software and services for developers to utilise as they build their own solutions."