Dark Web Foundation certification

About the course

Dark Web Foundation is a practice-oriented beginners’ course for those interested in learning how to access and navigate the Dark Web.

The course draws on the practical experience of high-level cybersecurity experts and Dark Web researchers. The learning material was co-developed with the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the first scientific research institute to partner with INTERPOL to combat cybercrime.

During the course, you will understand the technology behind the Dark Web, and you will use Tor to discover hidden sites and services. You will grasp the business dynamics of Dark Markets, and you will gain insight into Dark Web investigations through real-world incidents. Finally, you will get a thorough grounding in Bitcoin transactions, Bitcoin mining and Bitcoin laundering.

This training has a lot to offer to both technical and non-technical security specialists. As an IT and information security professional, you will value learning about the hidden cyber threats facing your organisation. If you are interested in national security (police, justice or defence), you will benefit from insights on how criminal activities evolve on the hidden part of the web.

  • Learn everything you need to know to safely use the Dark Web;
  • Discover how vendors and customers use Dark Markets;
  • Prepare for your certification assessment with a free sample exam.


This is an entry-level course. No previous knowledge or experience is required.

About the certificate

Core Dark Web skills you will validate with your SECO-DWF (S-DWF) certificate

The Dark Web Foundation exam tests your real-world Dark Web skills. By passing the DWF certification exam and earning a SECO-Dark Web Foundation (S-DWF) certificate, you demonstrate your ability to:

  • Understand how privacy-enhancing technologies are used on the Dark Web;
  • Understand how onion routing works;
  • Install and use the Tor browser;
  • Find Dark Markets and hidden services;
  • Understand the business dynamics of Dark Markets;
  • Understand the fundamental principles of blockchain technology;
  • Understand how Bitcoin transactions work;
  • Understand how Bitcoin laundering works.

What are the benefits of an S-DWF certificate?

An S-DWF certificate demonstrates that you can use the Dark Web in a secure way.

If you are an IT or information security professional, demonstrating that you can navigate the Dark Web securely is an excellent way to further advance your career. In today’s information security, proactively monitoring the Dark Web for potential vulnerabilities and new exploits is an essential defensive tool. In 2017 Recorded Future, a cybersecurity company, revealed that from over 12,500 disclosed vulnerabilities, more than 75 % were reported on the Dark Web before they were published in NIST’s centralised National Vulnerability Database (NVD). As the Dark Web grows, there will be an increasing need for skilled and qualified professionals who can use it for threat anticipation and prevention.

For police officers and law enforcement personnel, Dark Web skills will become essential in the 21st century. As the Dark Web’s user base expands, law enforcement will increasingly invest in staffing and training to combat criminal cyber activity.

Who should certify?

  • IT and information security professionals with ambitions to get into Dark Web monitoring;
  • Police officers, line officers and detectives.

How to prepare for the certification exam?

You can prepare for your certification exam by taking a course or by self-study.

We also offer classroom training through our accredited education partners. To find a course in your country, visit the Get Trained page.

If you prefer to prepare by self-study, make sure that you fully understand the requirements before you book your exam. Download the exam syllabus and the sample exam to familiarise yourself with the structure and topic areas of the certification exam.

How to book a certification exam?

You can take your certification exam at an accredited exam centre or online.

For more information on the exam, please download the SECO Examination Guide.

S-DWF certificate and digital badge

Upon successful completion of a SECO Dark Web Foundation certification exam, you will receive the S-DWF certification title and a digital badge. Your credentials will grant you a one-year SECO membership. After your certification expires, you will have the option to re-certify by paying a small fee.

For more information on the certification process, please download the SECO Certifications Guide.