Three Trends in Internet Usage and How it Will Affect Investigations

In conducting research for our training workshops on open source intelligence gathering we came across some interesting statistics that highlight the tends in internet connectivity and how people use the Internet. We’ve shared them here:

  1. It was widely publicized that in September 2015 ARIN ran out of free IPv4 addresses and had to transition to IPv6. Most other parts of the world with the exception of Africa are in the same situation. They ran out of IPv4 addresses because of the number of services and devices that were connecting to the Internet so they had to move to the IPv6 format which allows for a larger pool of addresses.
  2. Studies by ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies indicates that only 47% of the world’s population is online. About 33% of the Americas are still not online and only about 25% of the population of Africa is online.
  3. Facebook reported in its Q2 results that it had 1.13 billion Daily Average Users on average for June 2016, an increase of 17% year-over-year. That represents about 15% of the world population. That means that 85% of the world’s population were not Daily Average Users of Facebook during the month. A 1% growth in the DAU number would equate to an increase of 710,000,000 in users being active on Facebook, daily. Facebook is the largest social media site, but it is only one.

There is also the matter of greater access to existing record sources. Wikipedia has a list of corporate registries from around the world. Many of them are not on-line yet but may be in the future.

The more individuals that connect to the Internet increases the population that can cause crime on-line or who can cause crime by using on-line tools. If they participate in social media or other online forums then there will be an opportunity gather information on their backgrounds and activities. As the world trends towards greater access to records, those jurisdictions that have existing off-line public registers will move towards putting them on-line. That will add additional sources of information.

For legal professionals, intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies these are the type of trends that are vitally important when developing strategies and plans for cyber investigations and OSINT.

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