Interpol Creates Its Own Digital Currency to Fight Bitcoin Crimes

A new digital currency has been created by Interpol to fight online-committed crimes.

Photo: Interpol/twitter

Photo: Interpol/twitter

The Interpol Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI), the agency’s new international anti-cybercrime center in Singapore, has recently created its own digital currency in a bid to fight crimes being committed online.

A key component of this new cutting-edge research and development facility is the INTERPOL Digital Crime Centre. This new centre provides proactive research into new areas and latest training techniques, and coordinates operations in the field. The digital crime center, cybercrime research and development capabilities became operational earlier this month.

About 30 employees, including officers from the Singapore Police Force, have been working to develop in-house forensic tools within the IGCI. One of them is the agency’s own digital currency, which can be used in a specially designed simulation-based training game to create scenarios of digital currency use and misuse.

“It’s a virtual world that we have created, and personnel can come and operate these things and learn by operating them. We felt that these things, if you try to teach people from a policing background through PowerPoint presentations, it doesn’t make too much sense. Let them play around and learn more,” IGCI director of cyber innovation and outreach Madan Mohan Oberoi stated during the security trade event Interpol World.

Moreover, Interpol is looking at the policy and law enforcement implications of the digital currencies. Dr. Oberoi’s team identified vulnerabilities in digital currencies that can be used for posting malware, and he oversaw the development of a tracer that could help law enforcement officers track down those behind such acts. Seizing digital currencies, preserving them and presenting them to court are some of the issues that his team is exploring.

Next week, Interpol will issue a document that will define its future activities in cybercrime research. The document is the product of a workshop held earlier this year with various law enforcement agencies, members of academia and banking and security experts from private sectors around the world.

“The idea was to identify what should be the direction of research in the cyberworld for the law enforcement industry,” said Dr. Oberoi.

Furthermore, Dr. Oberoi’s team is exploring project ideas with various institutions, such as the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

“Cybercrime is a domain where information and expertise lie outside the domain of law enforcement agencies, so we have to reach out to other stakeholders… consult each other and work closely together.”

Overall, police worldwide are facing an increasing difficult operational landscape, since criminals take advantage of new technology, the ease of international travel and the anonymous nature of digital business. For instance, MIT Technology Review warns that a new Bitcoin-inspired technology – known as smart contracts – may be set to unlock a new wave of criminal innovation.

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