KEYNOTE: The Dark Web Evolution – Origin of the criminal business model

Keynote speech by Rolf van Wegberg at European Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference (#EISIC) 2016, August 17-19, Uppsala, Sweden, The Premier European Conference on Counterterrorism and Criminology.


Per Stromsjo: “@RolfvanWegberg great session. Once in a while, good content coincides with good presentation skills. #EISIC”


The Dark Web Evolution – On the origin of the criminal business model

The dark side of the internet can be easily accessed, and it is getting more and more popular amongst (cyber)criminals to deploy criminal activities. Using the TOR-protocol (The Onion Router) anonymous browsing is available for the general public, and increasing amounts of criminals see the advantages of moving their activities to the Dark Web. Ranging from drugs- and weapon trade to cybercrime-as-a-service, the Dark Web is the new anonymous, place-to-be for an increasingly large group of criminals.


This keynote covers concrete examples of (novel) criminal activities as well as the evolution of criminal business models on the Dark Web. Trends and patterns in Dark Web-facilitated crime are identified using big data approaches and new insights on emerging ‘threats’ are presented. Finally, the question arises: are the lessons-learned of tackling (traditional) crime still valid when analyzing this new platform wherein anonymous criminal marketplaces exist and entirely new criminal business models are used.



About Rolf van Wegberg

Rolf van Wegberg. MSc is a cybercrime researcher at the Technology, Policy and Management Faculty of Delft University of Technology and the Cyber Security & Resilience division at TNO. Originally trained as a criminologist, he received his MSc-degree (cum laude) in Criminology from Leiden University in 2011 with a thesis on money laundering and the funding of terrorism in the Netherlands. After graduation, he joined the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at Leiden University as a researcher and lecturer. His research interests are in the cross-section of financial-economic and cybercrime. More specifically he researched Dutch financial economic crime policy and the (legal) information exchange possibilities by law enforcement and the intelligence communities. In 2013 he joined TNO, where he works as a research scientist on the economics of (financial) cybercrime. Predominantly he is involved in TNO’s Dark Web program, wherein he researches new and evolving criminal business models, in particular crime-as-a-service models on underground markets. As a researcher at Delft University of Technology, his research is embedded in the MALPAY project wherein he studies the criminal strategies used by cybercriminals in banking malware attacks and the interactions between these strategies and the (security) policies of the financial service providers.


See also:

Keynote announcement –

European Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference (EISIC) 2016 -

Rolf van Wegberg on Twitter –


Mark van Staalduinen

Author: Mark van Staalduinen

Innovation Manager at TNO Singapore

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