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Web Crawler Takes Aim at Child Exploitation

By Simon Fraser ­niversity

November 30, 2011

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Simon Fraser University researchers have developed a Web crawling tool for tracking Web sites that exploit children, which could aid police in their investigations.

The tool enables users to collect more than 200,000 Web pages at a time, and without having to view the content. Researchers in the university's International Cybercrime Research Center studied how networks are structured and applied attack strategies to determine which would cause the most disruption.

Simon Fraser Ph.D. student Richard Frank says the attack strategies target sites that combine two important characteristics. "One is exposure to the public, measured as the number of incoming Web links to a given site, and the other, content severity, measured by a scale of the gravity of the images or simply the text found on a Web site," Frank says. "Eventually we hope to understand the life cycle of a Web site hosting this type of content; when it is created, what content is put on it, how content shifts from one Web site to another, and how it 'dies.'"

From Simon Fraser University
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