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Darknet training shines light on underground criminal activities

04 Aug 2015

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 (IGCI).

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. Professor Pieter Hartel of TNO was seconded at INTERPOL to set up the training and the lab together with INTERPOL.

Collaboration between TNO and Interpol

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. “As far as we are concerned, this is not just the start of an intensive and long-term collaboration between TNO and INTERPOL, but importantly also with affiliated police organizations to develop joint knowledge and resources to facilitate a secure society” said Annemarie Zielstra, TNO’s Director of Cyber Security & Resilience.
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, INTERPOL’s Director of Cyber Innovation and Outreach unit.

The course, co-developed by TNO and INTERPOL, also included the concept of penetration testing marketplaces on a Darknet infrastructure to determine whether a system is vulnerable to attack. Twenty-one representatives from Australia, Finland, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Turkey 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.

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