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Clampdown against cyber criminality
CreatedMonday, 14 June 2021
Created byJosh Lamorena
Last modifiedMonday, 14 June 2021
Revised byJosh Lamorena
VotingAverage rating1 vote
Favourites1307 Clampdown against cyber criminality /index.php/site_content/item/1307-clampdown-against-cyber-criminality
Two recent events that made news headlines have been heralded by some commentators as being somewhat of a ‘gamechanger’ in the crackdown against cyber criminality.
The first was the arrest of 800 criminals in what is one of the largest and most sophisticated law enforcement operations to date in the fight against clandestine criminal activities.
It centres around an encrypted phone network, called ANOM, which connected more than 12,000 encrypted devices and was used by over 300 organised crime groups to send messages and images and coordinate their activities across 100 countries.
What the criminals did not know was that ANOM was set up by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2019, targeting global organised crime, drug trafficking, and money laundering organisations.
The FBI and law enforcers from 16 other countries, supported by Europol and in coordination with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, then used the intelligence from the 27 million messages obtained, and reviewed them over 18 months.
An operation known as OTF Greenlight/Trojan Shield was carried out, resulting in more than 700 house searches, the seizure of tonnes of drugs, firearms, luxury vehicles, and over $48 million in various worldwide currencies and crypto currencies.
In the second event, the US Department of Justice recovered 63.7 Bitcoins valued at $2.3 million which had been paid to the ransomware group known as DarkSide.
These funds allegedly represent the proceeds of a May 8, ransom payment to individuals in that group, which had targeted Colonial Pipeline, the largest pipeline system for refined oil products in the US.
The attack resulted in the company having to take sections of its infrastructure out of operation.
The company’s computer network was accessed by the attackers and Colonial Pipeline received and paid a ransom demand for approximately 75 Bitcoins.
By reviewing the Bitcoin public ledger, law enforcement was able to track multiple transfers of Bitcoin and identify that approximately 63.7 bitcoins (representing the proceeds of the ransom payment) had been transferred to a specific address, for which the FBI has the “private key,” or the rough equivalent of a password needed to access assets accessible from the specific Bitcoin address.
This Bitcoin represents proceeds traceable to a computer intrusion and property involved in money laundering.
The success of both these cases are very encouraging and commendable; but it must be remembered that some spheres of the digital world – particularly the Darknet – still offers a safe haven for criminals to conduct their murky operations that are difficult to trace and even harder to bring to justice.
Nevertheless, the law is evolving in favour of fraud and financial investigators, and efforts are being made by credible and responsible online platforms, including crypto currency exchanges, to ensure measures exist within the system so that litigators can follow the money and criminals are brought to justice.
Jurisdictions need to ensure that exchanges are well-regulated and that comprehensive KYC checks are employed. These measures will not put a stop to cybercrime but will go some way in helping to tackle a growing threat that affects so many businesses, organisations and individuals.
* More case studies and insights on crypto currencies and cybercrime are discussed in ICC FraudNet’s recently published new Global Annual Report. To access and download the Report go to: https://icc-ccs.org/home/fraudnet