In a world where we are all going digital more and more every day, for shopping, entertainment, and now finance with Bitcoin, the law is looking to combat new digital criminals every day. Just like with the Internet over twenty years ago, criminals usually get the jump on the law through new, innovative technologies before they go mainstream. Sometimes, it can take a decade for the authorities to catch up. Now, with the latest technologies at their fingertips, the long arm of the law is looking to cut down that learning curve, starting in Singapore.
At this week’s biennial security trade event, Interpol World, held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, IGCI director of cyber innovation and outreach Madan Mohan Oberoi spoke about the progress already made at IGCI. With over thirty officers, including men from the Singapore Police Force, they have been developing in-house forensic tools. IGCI has even gone so far as to create its own crypto-currency, in order to better understand and combat cyber crimes involving virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin. The agency uses their own digital currency in a specially designed simulation-based training game to create scenarios where crypto-currency can be used for good and evil.
“It’s a virtual world that we have created, and personnel can come and operate these things and learn by operating them,” said Dr Oberoi, a former inspector-general of police with India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, told The Straits Times. “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 has also identified weaknesses in the market’s digital currencies that can be used for many forms of computer mischief, like mass posting of malware. Oberoi’s team supervised the development of a tracking device that could help find the users of such devices. Cryptocurrencies are changing so fast with newer applications all the time; new challenges emerge as they become more widely used. The search and seizure of virtual currencies, securing them, and actually presenting them in court are some of the ideas IGCI is currently working on.
Here’s another example of the influence and velocity of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Nations are seeing a new technology as a threat and are redesigning their law enforcement around it’s advanced capabilities and criminal potential. If only they’d be as aggressive in understanding its ability to help people worldwide.
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