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31 July 2015

INTERPOL Darknet training shines light on underground criminal activities

SINGAPORE – Identifying the methods and strategies used by organized crime networks and individuals to avoid detection on the Darknet was the focus of a specialized training course hosted by the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation.

As part of the training, the first of its kind, INTERPOL’s Cyber Research Lab created its own private Darknet network, private cryptocurrency and simulated marketplace, recreating the virtual ‘underground’ environment used by criminals to avoid detection.

During the five-day (27 -31 July) training course, participants role-played as vendors, buyers and administrators to improve their understanding of the technical infrastructure of the Tor network hidden services, the structure of illicit marketplaces, and cryptocurrencies. Exercises also included live law enforcement ‘take downs’ of the simulated market places.

“Darknets are fast emerging as the preferred trading venue for organized crime networks and individuals to carry out illicit activities, with cryptocurrencies the preferred medium for paying for these criminal services,” said Madan Oberoi, INTERPOL’s Director of Cyber Innovation and Outreach unit.

“The specialized training provided by INTERPOL equips law enforcement with the understanding and tools they need to take very real action targeting criminals in the virtual world.

“This unique course also underlines the added value of the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation to our member countries in helping them address emerging crime threats,” concluded Mr Oberoi.

The course, co-developed by INTERPOL and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), also included the concept of penetration testing marketplaces on a Darknet infrastructure to determine whether a system is vulnerable to attack.

Representatives from Australia, Finland, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Sweden attended the first training session.

A second course is scheduled for November in Brussels, with a separate training event also planned for senior law enforcement officers in order to raise awareness of these new threat areas at all policing levels.