INTERPOL holds first DarkNet and Cryptocurrencies Working Group in Singapore

On April 3, INTERPOL announced that it has held the first Working Group on DarkNet and Cryptocurrencies. The Working Group has identified the rise of Altcoins, alternative cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin, as an emerging threat to law enforcement.

Held at the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore, in cooperation with the German Bavarian Ministry of Justice, the working group gathered 39 participants representing 18 member countries and Europol.

In recent years, INTERPOL has witnessed a sharp rise of phenomena such as DarkNet markets, cryptocurrencies and specific Bitcoin mixers and tumblers, which pose a major threat as they are not only limited to cybercrime, but cut across a multitude of other crime areas.

Other challenges identified by participants included cryptocurrency mixers, anonymisation techniques, lack of altcoin tracing tools and decentralised escrow services.

During the 2-day meeting in March, police officers shared case examples of global Darknet and cryptocurrency investigations, along with the technical and legal challenges they face in various national contexts.

Participants overwhelmingly agreed on the importance of networking and information sharing to maximise investigative resources and avoid duplication of efforts.

The Working Group discussed the use of commercial and law enforcement developed forensic tools and their benefits when investigating criminal cases. Other recommendations included the use of knowledge databases and the creation of international investigation guides.

Anita Hazenberg, Director of the INTERPOL Innovation Centre, echoed the idea and encouraged active collaboration through the Working Group, which will serve as a global platform in fighting criminals who seek to exploit the evolution of anonymization techniques.

The meeting also affirmed that capacity building and training on DarkNet and cryptocurrencies was crucial to ensuring that investigators keep up with the evolution of forensic tools and techniques.

The second Working Group will be held in October 2018 in Germany.

Feature image: TheAppleEX/CC BY-SA 4.0

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