investigating the Dark Web: Carlow University and NCFTA Fight Cyber Crime

Carlow University and NCFTA fight cyber crime through a new graduate MicroMaster’s certificate in Cyber Threat Research and Analytics.

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New Micro-Masters Shows Students How to Analyze and Investigate Dark Web Threats

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Carlow University will shine the investigators’ spotlight on the Dark Web with its new MicroMasters in Cyber Threat Research and Analytics.

Carlow’s new nine-credit graduate certificate program, offered in partnership with the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance (NCFTA), is currently enrolling students, and will begin classes in March.

“The Dark Web is the common name for websites hosting many types of illicit activities, such as personal identity theft, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and child pornography,” said Steve Mancini, Chief Technology Officer and Director of Strategic Operations, NCFTA, and an adjunct professor at Carlow.  “Offenders use online aliases and shield their Internet Protocol (IP) address so they are difficult for law enforcement to track.”

Carlow’s MicroMaster’s certificate will provide graduate level training and credits in the techniques and tools needed to investigate, respond to, and remediate cyber crime and cyber-enabled crime.

“Our program will leverage the expertise of professionals in accounting, finance, business, and law enforcement, who are working with government and the private sector daily to disrupt criminal activity and prevent cyber attacks that steal personal information,” said Diane Matthews, PhD, CPA/CFF, CFE, a Carlow professor and the director of the Master of Science program in Fraud and Forensics, who was named the 2017 Educator of the Year by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).  Carlow’s program in Fraud and Forensics has had more than 200 graduates since it was introduced in 2012.

Through the partnership with NCFTA, Carlow’s courses will cover training for topics such as understanding cyber-threats, identification of threat actors, and how to conduct online investigations.

“There are special techniques involved in investigating the Dark Web,” said Mary Onufer, MS, an assistant professor in Fraud and Forensics.  “There is a very focused skill set involved.  It’s not as simple as logging onto the Dark Web and searching for crime and criminals.”

There are three online courses in the MicroMasters in Cyber-Threat Research and Analytics, which can be completed in a total of 14 weeks.  The courses are:

Cybercrime, which lasts five weeks, and is both a theoretical and hands-on examination of the complexities of cybercrime and the difficulty of investigating and prosecuting cybercrime cases.

Cyber Analysis on the Dark Web is also a five-week course, which introduces more technical topics, such as encryption, obfuscation, virtual currency, and preparing for online investigations.

Advanced Cyber Analysis and Targeting on the Dark Web, a four-week course, will teach students analytic targeting, intelligence methodologies, and data analysis.

The MicroMaster’s concludes with a two-day residency at the NCFTA office in Pittsburgh, where students will work alongside government and industry professionals in a hands-on experience in profiling and investigating cyber and cyber-enabled crime.

“Part of Carlow’s mission is to create ethical leaders for a just and merciful world,” said Matthews.  “This program will create ethical leaders on the front lines of cyber crime.”

For more program and enrollment information about Carlow’s new MicroMasters in Cyber Threat Research and Analytics, please visit: In addition, credits earned in Carlow’s MicroMaster’s certificate program can be applied to either a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) or a Master’s in Fraud and Forensics.


About Carlow University

Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Eds, Meds, and Tech” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s graduates, curricula, and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in three colleges: Health and Wellness, Leadership and Social Change, and Learning and Innovation. Carlow graduates are in demand for their professional expertise, in fields ranging from nursing, the sciences, and perfusion technology to counseling, education, and forensic accounting; their entrepreneurial spirit and creative mindset; and their ability to manage change.  Carlow’s 13 athletic teams are known as the Celtics, a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots.

About the NCFTA

The National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance (NCFTA) is a non-profit corporation founded in Pittsburgh in 2002, focused on identifying, mitigating, and disrupting cyber crime threats globally. The NCFTA operates by conducting real time information sharing and analysis with Subject Matter Experts (SME) in the public, private, and academic sectors. Through these partnerships, the NCFTA proactively identifies cyber threats in order to help partners take preventive measures to mitigate those threats. The NCFTA has a proven track record and has long been identified as the model for private/public partnerships. Today, the NCFTA model, best practices, and lessons learned are being leveraged and emulated in countries around the world. Membership is constantly growing both nationally and internationally across private industry, law enforcement, government, and academia.

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