But to be serious. The Wayback Machine contains a very large proportion of all sites. It is the most complete database we have found so far. Some archives are very broken. But those are rares.
The only problem with the Wayback Machine is that there is no known efficient way to query its archives across domains. You have to have a domain in hand for CDX queries: Wayback Machine CDX scanning.
The Common Crawl project attempts in part to address this lack of querriability, but we haven't managed to extract any hits from it.
CDX + 2013 DNS Census + heuristics however has been fruitful however.
The Wayback Machine has an endpoint to query cralwed pages called the CDX server. It is documented at: github.com/internetarchive/wayback/blob/master/wayback-cdx-server/README.md.
This allows to filter down 10 thousands of possible domains in a few hours. But 100s of thousands would be too much. This is because you have to query exactly one URL at a time, and they possibly rate limit IPs. But no IP blacklisting so far after several hours, so it's not that bad.
Once you have a heuristic to narrow down some domains, you can use this helper: cia-2010-covert-communication-websites/cdx.sh to drill them down from 10s of thousands down to hundreds or thousands.
We then post process the results of cdx.sh with cia-2010-covert-communication-websites/cdx-post.sh to drill them down from from thousands to dozens, and manually inspect everything.
From then on, you can just manually inspect for hist on your browser.
Dire times require dire methods: cia-2010-covert-communication-websites/cdx-tor.sh.
First we must start the tor servers with the tor-army command from: stackoverflow.com/questions/14321214/how-to-run-multiple-tor-processes-at-once-with-different-exit-ips/76749983#76749983
tor-army 100
and then use it on a newline separated domain name list to check;
./cdx-tor.sh infile.txt
This creates a directory infile.txt.cdx/ containing:
  • infile.txt.cdx/out00, out01, etc.: the suspected CDX lines from domains from each tor instance based on the simple criteria that the CDX can handle directly. We split the input domains into 100 piles, and give one selected pile per tor instance.
  • infile.txt.cdx/out: the final combined CDX output of out00, out01, ...
  • infile.txt.cdx/out.post: the final output containing only domain names that match further CLI criteria that cannot be easily encoded on the CDX query. This is the cleanest domain name list you should look into at the end basically.
Since archive is so abysmal in its data access, e.g. a Google BigQuery would solve our issues in seconds, we have to come up with creative ways of getting around their IP throttling.
The CIA doesn't play fair. They're actually the exact opposite of fair. So neither shall we.
This should allow a full sweep of the 4.5M records in 2013 DNS Census virtual host cleanup in a reasonable amount of time. After JAR/SWF/CGI filtering we obtained 5.8k domains, so a reduction factor of about 1 million with likely very few losses. Not bad.
5.8k is still a bit annoying to fully go over however, so we can also try to count CDX hits to the domains and remove anything with too many hits, since the CIA websites basically have very few archives:
cd 2013-dns-census-a-novirt-domains.txt.cdx
./cdx-tor.sh -d out.post domain-list.txt
cd out.post.cdx
cut -d' ' -f1 out | uniq -c | sort -k1 -n | awk 'match($2, /([^,]+),([^)]+)/, a) {printf("%s.%s %d\n", a[2], a[1], $1)}' > out.count
This gives us something like:
12654montana.com 1
aeronet-news.com 1
atohms.com 1
av3net.com 1
beechstreetas400.com 1
sorted by increasing hit counts, so we can go down as far as patience allows for!
New results from a full CDX scan of 2013-dns-census-a-novirt.csv:
  • journeystravelled.com
JAR, SWF and CGI-bin scanning by path only is fine, since there are relatively few of those. But .js scanning by path only is too broad.
One option would be to filter out by size, an information that is contained on the CDX. Let's check typical ones:
grep -f <(jq -r '.[]|select(select(.comms)|.comms|test("\\.js"))|.host' ../media/cia-2010-covert-communication-websites/hits.json) out | out.jshits.cdx
sort -n -k7 out.jshits.cdx
Ignoring some obvious unrelated non-comms files visually we get a range of about 2732 to 3632:
net,hollywoodscreen)/current.js 20110106082232 http://hollywoodscreen.net/current.js text/javascript 200 XY5NHVW7UMFS3WSKPXLOQ5DJA34POXMV 2732
com,amishkanews)/amishkanewss.js 20110208032713 http://amishkanews.com/amishkanewss.js text/javascript 200 S5ZWJ53JFSLUSJVXBBA3NBJXNYLNCI4E 3632
This ignores the obviously atypical JavaScript with SHAs from iranfootballsource, and the particularly small old menu.js from cutabovenews.com, which we embed into cia-2010-covert-communication-websites/cdx-post-js.sh.
The size helps a bit, but it's not insanely good unfortunately, only about 3x, these are some common JS sizes right there!
Many hits appear to happen on the same days, and per-day data does exist: archive.org/details/widecrawl but apparently cannot be publicly downloaded unfortunately. But maybe there's another way? TODO select candidates.

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