Research for IWF Members
IWF is in a unique position to carry out research on online criminal content, and in particular child sexual abuse content. Our aim is to improve the effectiveness of our Hotline through providing intelligence into people’s online behaviour and use of technology. This will help us to reach our vision of eliminating online child sexual abuse images and videos.
Some of the information in this section is confidential and should not be shared with non-IWF Members. Please check with us if in any doubt by email email@example.com or phone +44(0)1223 20 30 30.
- Online-Produced Sexual Content
- 2015 trends
- Rogue Affiliates Distribution CSAM using 'Disguised Websites'
- Preliminary analysis into commercial child sexual abuse material distributor accepting Bitcoin payment
- CONFIDENTIAL: Hacked Websites paper for IWF Members
- Self generated sexually explicit images & videos featuring young people online
- Independent report: The development of a comprehensive, transferable international internet notice and takedown system
10 March 2015
This Paper introduces the key findings of a quantitative study of youth-produced sexual content online (“the Study”).
The Study took place over a three month period between September and November 2014 and used a combination of proactively sourced content from search engines, historic IWF data and leads from public reports to locate “youth-produced sexual content” depicting “young people”.
The Study was carried out by Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in partnership with Microsoft and was initially designed to expand upon an earlier study carried out by IWF in 2012 which provided a snapshot of the availability of self-generated sexual content featuring young people online and the extent to which control over that content is lost once it has appeared online.
Every year we publish the operational trends we saw during the previous year, including the number of reports we processed, where the content is located and how criminals are changing the way they publish the content. We do this to help others understand the problem of child sexual abuse, the scale of it and what can be done to combat this global problem.
We are currently working on our 2016 Trends and will to publish them shortly. In the meantime you can read about the trends we saw in 2015 in our 2015 Annual Report.
1 April 2014
This paper discusses in more detail the technique of distributing child sexual abuse material using “disguised websites”. In late 2011, the IWF identified a rising trend in websites which use a referrer-based content method of distributing CSAI. Such websites present different content based on the website (or “digital pathway”) via which the visitor is coming to the site.
During the course of 2013, the IWF increasingly saw a specific sub-network of these disguised websites providing a “digital pathway” not only to seemingly legitimate websites providing adult content but also to the most prolific commercial child sexual abuse sites identified as part of IWF’s ongoing Website Brand Project.
Preliminary analysis into commercial child sexual abuse material distributor accepting Bitcoin payment
3 March 2014
This paper discusses the re-emergence of hacked websites as a method for distributing commercial child sexual abuse websites. In January 2014 the IWF identified a trend whereby spam emails were used to distribute links (web addresses) to internet users. These links led to a hacked website (a legitimate business) and would further re-direct the user to commercial child sexual abuse images on a second hacked website. This commercial child sexual abuse website is unique amongst other such commercial websites identified by IWF in that it purports to accept payment only in bitcoins.
Since June 2013, there has been a significant rise in the number of legitimate small business and personal websites which have been hacked with a specific child sexual abuse (CSA) template.
A confidential paper produced by the IWF's Technical Researcher solely for IWF Members is available to download below.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has published a study into self-generated, sexually explicit content of young people on the internet.
It was conducted in September 2012 over 47 working hours. where the IWF's Analysts looked at the amount of content they could find which was sexually explicit, of young people which appeared to be self-generated either by themselves or someone else.
It revealed that most of the content catalogued by the analysts – in fact a whopping 88% - had been taken from its original upload source and put somewhere else. Often this would be in collections.
Independent report: The development of a comprehensive, transferable international internet notice and takedown system
An independent report by Dr Weixiao Wei commissioned by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and funded by the Nominet Trust was published in May 2011.