Authorship attribution in the dark web
University of New Brunswick
This thesis is about authorship attribution (AA) within multiple Dark Web forums and the question of whether AA is possible beyond the boundaries of a single forum. AA can become a curse for users that try to protect their anonymity and simultaneously become a blessing for law enforcement groups that try to track users. To determine to what extent AA threatens the anonymity of Dark Web users, a dataset of four Dark Web forums was created. Within the analysis, two different approaches are considered: feeding classifiers with posts from two forums, and training classifiers with posts from another forum than what is used for testing. Even for the largest dataset, the author of a post is at least 94% within the top three most likely candidates. This shows that AA can be a danger to the anonymity of Dark Web users across the boundaries of different forums.