Police can only hope to effectively combat cybercrime if they have a thorough understanding of the threats they are facing.
INTERPOL therefore works closely with partners in the private sector and academia to research the latest cyberthreats and how they could impact law enforcement activities.
INTERPOL researchers, working closely with an expert from Kaspersky Lab, identified a threat to the blockchain – the public ‘ledger’ of transactions – in virtual currency transactions which could result in their being embedded with malware or other illegal data, such as child abuse images.
The researchers discovered that in some cryptocurrencies there is a fixed open space on the blockchain where data can be stored or hosted, with no methods currently available to remove it.
This was identified as a potential target for criminals, who could potentially inject malicious data into this space – either to share data such as child abuse images, to deploy malware or to create an illegal underground marketplace.
The research into this new cyberthreat is being used to spread awareness among the global law enforcement community, and to develop solutions to prevent this abuse.
A Cyberfeed is a short research document outlining an early detection of a threat, or potential misuse of an online service or emerging technology by criminals. They are distributed regularly to INTERPOL member countries.
Four Cyberfeeds have been issued in 2015 on the topics of Bitmessage, Skype IP Resolver, CF00X (a Carbanak variant using spear phishing) and the SkyJack Drone Hacking Attack.