Britain’s tax agency is inviting contractors to provide a tech tool to help Britain’s tax agency combat crypto cybercriminals. 

What the agency wants

The technology, which Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) posted on Jan. 17 in an open contract call worth 100,000 pounds sterling, should gather intelligence through cluster analysis. The HMRC’s Cybercrime team hopes this will help them correlate crypto-asset transactions with service providers.  

As opposed to free online tools and human analysis that exist, HMRC reportedly believes a commercial product would help the agency illuminate the blind spots that currently allow criminal activity to fester. 

HMRC wants to track and analyze, at a minimum, the big coins and, ideally, privacy tokens Monero, Zcash, and Dash — which have been notoriously difficult for regulators to track.

Cybercrimes evolve

The Cybercrime team was created to shield Britain’s tax revenue from attempted fraud. Specifically, HMRC’s repayment system is vulnerable to complex and clever criminality —  hacking, malicious software (malware), and distributed denial of service are leading offenders. Phishing scams are most notable and have evolved from email to text form. 

So-called “SMiSHing” attempts work because people are readily responsive to HMRC and the criminal messages appear credible. Dedicated efforts have helped the Cybercrime team progress from the 16th “most phished brand globally” to the 146th in 2018. 

Still, as law enforcement and regulatory efforts evolve, as Cointelegraph has reported in the case of Britain, so do the criminals they seek to thwart. 

Last week, Cointelegraph reported on the rise of terrorist operations more adroitly utilizing cryptocurrency to fund operations. U.S.-based Chainalysis identified Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), Hamas’s military arm and noted terrorist organization, as the first confirmed case of terrorists using cryptocurrency to aid their activity. 

Chainalysis recently tracked $2.8 billion in Bitcoin from criminal enterprises through exchanges.