INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation has recently completed a specialized training to identify the methods and strategies used to avoid detection on the Darknet, which often use non-standard communications protocols and ports.
INTERPOL’s Cyber Research Lab developed a sample private Darknet network for the training to mimic actual transactions and private trades settled on private cryptocurrency-powered Darknet marketplaces like the Agora.
Many participants were invited in the specialized training course to enact as “vendors, buyers and administrators to improve their understanding of the technical infrastructure of the Tor network’s hidden services, the structure of illicit marketplaces, and cryptocurrencies.”
Exercises also included live law enforcement “take downs of the simulated market places,” according to the INTERPOL’s press release.
After the closure of the Silk Road, many government agencies and law enforcements have been looking into the Darknet markets, and how transactions are processed and “hidden.” Today, agencies like Interpol and the US Dept. of Homeland Security are in search for ways to track down cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin in order to determine the origin of the trade.
“Darknets are fast emerging as the preferred trading venue for organized crime networks and individuals to carry out illicit activities, with cryptocurrencies the preferred medium for paying for these criminal services,” said Madan Oberoi, INTERPOL’s Director of Cyber Innovation and Outreach unit.
"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.”
The specialized training is co-developed by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research and INTERPOL, ultimately to conduct an extensive research on Darknet infrastructures and their vulnerabilities.
Darknet remains defiant
Despite the warning from Silk Road case Judge Katherine Forest who said “They need to understand, without equivocation, that there will be severe consequences” and the efforts of law enforcements and governments worldwide, the sales and transactions across Darknet markets have risen. The volume currently fluctuates between US$300,000 and US$500,000, adding up to somewhere between US$100 million and US$180 million in annual sales.
“These figures are small potatoes in relation to the most recent UN report, which tallied the global drug trade at a colossal US$321.6 billion or 1 percent of the world’s gross domestic product,” reported the Daily Beast. “Less than 0.1% of all drug trade occurs in the Dark Web, yet expensive global operations relentlessly pursue and shut down these marketplaces.”