Richard Frank

Associate Professor, International CyberCrime Research Centre (ICCRC) Director


Richard Frank is Associate Professor in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Canada, and Director of the International CyberCrime Research Centre (ICCRC). Richard completed a PhD in Computing Science (2010) and another PhD in Criminology (2013) at SFU. His main research interest is Cybercrime. Specifically, he's interested in researching hackers and security issues, the dark web, online terrorism and warfare, eLaundering and cryptocurrencies, and online child exploitation.

Frank is the creator of The Dark Crawler, a tool for collecting and analyzing data from the open Internet, dark web, and online discussion forums. Through this tool the ICCRC has collected ~150 million posts from various right-wing, left-wing, gender-based, and religiously-motivated extremist communities, leading to a number of projects and publications.


Cybercrime; hackers' and extremists' use of the internet; data-mining and classification; computational criminology; environmental criminology.


  • BMath (Waterloo)
  • PhD Computer Science (SFU)
  • PhD Criminology (SFU)


Selected Publications

  • Scrivens, R., Davies, G., Gaudette, T., Frank, R. “Comparing Online Posting Typologies among Violent and Nonviolent Right-Wing Extremists”, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, July 2022
  • Helm, B., Scrivens, R., Holt, T.J., Chermak, S.M., Frank, R. “Examining Incel Subculture on Reddit”, Journal of Crime and Justice, 2022
  • Zhang, C., Frank, R., Warkentin, N., Zakimi, N.: “Accessible from the Open Web: A Qualitative Analysis of the Available Open-source Information Involving Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure”, Journal of Cybersecurity, 2022
  • Cartwright, B., Weir, G., Frank, R., Padda, K.: “Detecting and Responding to Hostile Disinformation Activities on Social Media using Machine Learning and Deep Neural Networks”, Neural Computing and Applications, 2022
  • Scrivens, R., Wojciechowski, T., Freilich, J.,; Chermak, S., Frank, R., “Differentiating Online Posting Behaviors of Violent and Non-Violent Right-Wing Extremists”, Criminal Justice Policy Review, 2022
  • Westlake, B., Brewer, R., Swearingen, T., Ross, A., Patterson, S., Michalski, D., Hole, M., Logos, K., Frank, R., Bright, D., Afana, E., “Developing automated methods to detect and match face and voice biometrics in child sexual abuse videos.” Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 648. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. 2022
  • Hodgkinson, T., Andresen, M.A., Frank, R., & Pringle, D. (2022). “Crime down in the Paris of the prairies: Spatial effects of COVID-19 and crime during lockdown in Saskatoon, Canada.” Journal of Criminal Justice, in press.
  • Davies, G., Wu, E., Frank, R. “A Witch’s Brew of Grievances: The Potential Effects of COVID-19 on Radicalization to Violent Extremism”, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2021.1923188
  • Champion, A., Frank, R. “Exploring the ‘Radicalization Pipeline’ on YouTube”,  NATO Science for Peace and Security Series-E: Human and Societal Dynamics, Vol 152, pg 359-374, 2021
  • Scrivens, R., Osuna, A.I., Chermak, S.M., Whitney, M.A., Frank, R. “Examining Online Indicators of Extremism in Violent Right-Wing Extremist Forums”,  Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 2021

Selected Grants

  • 2023 - Principal Investigator - Office of Crime Reduction & Gang Outreach (OCR-GO) - Policing and Security Branch. “Human Trafficking Enforcement in British Columbia: An In-Depth Analysis of Existing Strategies, and Recommendations for New Methods of Combatting Human Trafficking and Organized Crime”- $103,315 CAD
  • 2023 - Principal Investigator - SSHRC – through the Human-Centric Cybersecurity Partnership - “Peer Harm Reduction on the Darknet” - $25,000 CAD
  • 2023       Principal Investigator     SSHRC – through the Human-Centric Cybersecurity Partnership - “The Dark Figure of Reporting and the Dark Figure of Recording: Measuring Ransomware Attacks on Businesses in Canada” - $25,000 CAD
  • 2021-2023 - Principal Investigator - Public Safety Canada’s Cyber Security Cooperation Program: “Securely Linked Anti-Trafficking and Exploitation Database” - $494,500 CAD
  • 2020-2021- Principal Investigator - Office of Crime Reduction & Gang Outreach (OCR-GO) - Policing and Security Branch. “The role of trust between buyer and vendor trust on dark web firearms and drug markets in British Columbia” - $78,046 CAD