Internship | State of the onion | Applying machine learning to classify the usage of the Dark Web

What is the state of the Onion? The classifier you'll build will help us figure it out! With automatic classification of each site on the dark web we can determine the size and scope of different categories of legal and illegal content.


Den Haag

Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


Apply now


What will you be doing?

The Dark Web is a non-indexed part of the internet, where one can browse and host sites anonymously. It can only be accessed by anonymization technologies such as The Onion Router (TOR). The content hosted on the Dark Web is rather diverse and is of both legal and illegal nature. One of the illegal usages of TOR is to host anonymous online marketplaces where illegal goods are being traded, such as drugs. In order to gain insight into the dark web, TNO has developed a Dark Web Monitor. This Dark Web Monitor actively scrapes new Dark Web webpages and gathers additional meta-data of these pages. The next step would be to automate classification of each webpage so that we can determine the size and scope of different categories of Dark Web content.

The research will be part of the broader Dark Web program within TNO. The internship is geared towards building a state-of-the-art automated classifier on the data gathered through the Dark Web Monitor. The goal of developing this classifier is to gain statistical insights into the content and scope of the Dark Web. Your research will involve an assessment of the state of the art in classification, analysis of the data gathered by the Dark Web Monitor, selection of the most suitable technique, manual labelling for training, implementation & evaluation, and documentation. In principle, the internship does not involve writing a thesis during the internship. However, possible thesis projects can be identified during internship. The duration of the internship will be between 3 and 6 months, starting in February 2020. Due to screening requirements, we invite EU-citizens to respond to this position. Note that the screening process might take up 3 months.

What do we require of you?

We are looking for motivated students in the final stages of a bachelor or first stages of a master program in data science – or a related program – at a Dutch university. You are interested in – and preferably have experience in – socio-technical research. You have (basic) knowledge of SQL, are experienced in working with Python and are familiar with machine learning libraries, like Keras or scikit-learn. Unstructured data sets do not cause you headaches, and you are used to working in a team.

What can you expect of your work situation?

TNO is an independent research organisation whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. With 3000 people we develop knowledge not for its own sake but for practical application. To create new products that make life more pleasant and valuable and help companies innovate. To find creative answers to the questions posed by society. We work for a variety of customers: governments, companies, service providers and non-governmental organisations. Working together on new knowledge, better products and clear recommendations for policy and processes. In everything we do, impact is the key. Our product and process innovations and recommendations are only worth something if our customers can use them to boost their competitiveness.

You will be part of two departments, Networked Organisations (NO) and Cyber Security and Robustness (CSR) and primarily hosted within a multidisciplinary team working on Dark Web research within TNO. We are based in The Hague and have our ‘team-day’ on Thursdays. We expect that you will be in the office on Mondays and Thursdays – we will bring cookies and often go for drinks after work. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

What can TNO offer you?

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

Application process

For this vacancy it is required that the AIVD issues a security clearance after conducting a security screening. Please visit for more information the AIVD website.

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Contact: Federico Falconieri
Phone number:

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now



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