On April 3, INTERPOL
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
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
Feature image: TheAppleEX/CC BY-SA 4.0