In reaction to the infamous WannaCry ransomware attack on May 12, the European Commission announced the launch of a project dubbed “TITANIUM.” The word stands for “Tools for the Investigation of Transactions in Underground Markets.”

TITANIUM is a consortium of public organizations and national agencies of seven European countries which will work hand in hand with Interpol.

Black markets

The project’s main goal is to develop tools to explore Blockchains in order to identify threats and illegal uses of cryptocurrencies, as well as to mitigate international terrorism and spot money-laundering initiatives.

The AIT Austrian Institute of Technology states that the project will “curtail criminals and attackers from using blockchain technology to avoid law detection, while at the same time respecting the privacy rights of legitimate users.”

Dr. Ross King, the project coordinator of TITANIUM, says:

“The consortium will analyse legal and ethical requirements and define guidelines for storing and processing data, information, and knowledge involved in criminal investigations without compromising citizen privacy.”

Good for crypto

This news could add more legitimacy to cryptocurrencies that are regularly criticized for their attractiveness to black markets.

We previously predicted that more tools for exploratory analytics will be launched in the future, and TITANIUM is a strong demonstration of this trend.

The project will be financed by a European fund of $5 mln over three years.

In addition to the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, the partners in the TITANIUM consortium include:

  • Bundeskriminalamt (Germany)
  • Coblue Cybersecurity (Netherlands)
  • Countercraft S.L. (Spain)
  • dence GmbH (Germany)
  • Universität Innsbruck (Austria)
  • INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization)
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany)
  • Ministry of the Interior (Austria)
  • Ministry of the Interior (Spain)
  • National Bureau of Investigation (Finland)
  • TNO (Netherlands)
  • Trilateral Research Ltd. (UK)
  • University College London (UK)
  • VICOMTECH-IK4 (Spain)

WannaCry addresses

This is the occasion to remind that, so far, the 51 BTC that was paid to the three public addresses used by WannaCry still hasn’t moved.

This amount translates into over $144,000 as of today, and it seems that payment of the ransom doesn’t alway guarantee unlocking one’s illegally encrypted data.