Developing new forensic tools to combat Internet Organised Crime and Terrorism
Today Internet Organized Crime and Terrorism (IOCT) is worryingly expanding. Among others, a few examples include:
- ransomwares, namely malwares restricting access to files and requesting the payment of a ransom in Bitcoin to remove the restriction;
- theft of virtual currencies;
- financing of terrorist activities through Bitcoin payments in the darknet;
- virtual kidnapping, consisting of sending deceiving messages about the kidnapping of a relative (often including a video footage of the victim obtained through malware) and request the payment of a ransom using virtual currencies.
Trilateral Research works with other partners, as part of the TITANIUM consortium, to respond to the alarming rise in cybercrime, which relies on the use of virtual currencies and/or dark web services, exploiting their pseudo-anonymity.
TITANIUM project (Tools for the Investigation of Transaction in Underground Markets) is funded by the European Commission, as part of the H2020/SEC programme and aims to support Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in their investigations. The project is coordinated by Dr Ross King from the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, and carried out by a consortium made up of public and private organisations, research institutions, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and LEAs from seven European countries.
TITANIUM’s new forensic tools
The TITANIUM project will develop new forensic tools aiming to:
- monitor trends in virtual currency and darknet market ecosystems;
- analyse transactions across different virtual currency databases, detecting illicit activities;
- generate court-proof evidence reports based on reproducible and legally compliant analytical procedures.
The TITANIUM team is analysing legal and ethical requirements and defining guidelines for TITANIUM tools to function in a lawful and ethical manner, ensuring that they comply to privacy laws, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and are respectful of other fundamental rights.
The TITANIUM consortium will organise training activities and workshops (including field labs) to promote the use of the new forensic tools among LEAs in the European Union.
Trilateral Research’s role in the project
Trilateral Research leads the privacy impact assessment of TITANIUM. Trilateral is also responsible for the project’s dissemination, training and exploitation activities. Additionally, Trilateral will play a key role in the organisation of the training activities aimed at LEAs and it will develop a business plan to ensure the commercialisation of TITANIUM’s services.
The long-term view
The TITANIUM consortium impact will be:
- to equip LEA officers with more efficient and effective investigative tools to combat illicit use of cryptocurrencies and other cybercrimes, while reducing investigative costs;
- to better identify, understand, prevent and resolve criminal activities and terrorist endeavours related to cryptocurrencies;
- to reduce societal distress due to cyber-attacks and terrorism.
TITANIUM will limit and curtail the illicit use of cryptocurrencies and it will contribute to increasing the transparency of digital currency-based financial transactions.
Visit the TITANIUM consortium website to access the network of LEA officers, industry professionals, research institutions, and SMEs specialised in cybersecurity and learn more about the new forensic tools and services that will be developed.