We all know that cryptocurrencies are the only way to do anonymous transaction. Either it is FBI or NIA, they find it impossible to track the record of transaction made through cryptocurrency. Every technology geek in today’s time have tried to understand the concept of cryptocurrency due to its growing popularity. In many countries, the cryptocurrency is banned but still it a trending currency in the cyber criminal underground world.
But do you wonder what makes it trending in the underground?
Well the answer for this question is straightforward. As said above, the cryptocurrency provides a way to cyber criminals to make their transactions absolutely anonymous. What this means is that there is no third party involved in the transaction. For cyber criminals, these cryptocurrencies serves as medium to accept ransom from victims of iilegal activities like drug trafficking, malware, pornography, etc. But the question which arises here is that if there is no third party to authenticate these transactions, who will maintain the integrity of each transaction carried.
Well for this, we need to understand the working of cryptocurrency. The transaction takes place through blockchain which is a peer to peer network. As the name is indicating itself, the transaction takes place through blocks. A block in a blockchain is simply a virtual block that keep three records in it:
- Data that corresponds to sender address, receiver address and the amount which is being sent.
- Hash of all the data contained in it.
- Hash of the previous block contained in it.
When a transaction takes place in a blockchain, it is copied to all blocks in that chain. Thus, with the help of cryptographic measures, blockchain ensures that all transactions maintain integrity, making it difficult to tamper any block in that chain.
But some researchers in Russia have found a way to catch cyber criminals even in this anonymous world of transactions. Rosinfomonitoring, The Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation, is currently working on project, “Transparent Blockchain” for analyzing cryptocurrency transactions using artificial intelligence (AI). Thus, using AI it becomes really easy to detect transactions made by malicious characters.
CONCEPT BEHIND THIS PROJECT
Researchers have a very sorted view on their strategy of catching the criminals. According to the project report, this AI project will help cyber police to keep an eye on transactions made on darknet as well as on the withdrawals made through crypto accounts associated with the account in the darknet. Nikita Kulikov, a member of the State Duma expert council, founder of PravoRobotov ANO said that ”Cryptocurrency transactions are carried out on blockchain systems. The main property of the blockchain is the immutability of information about transactions, each stage of which is linked into a chain and therefore cannot be changed. This data is available to all participants in the blockchain, but it will be possible to identify the participants in the transactions only if at least some initial information is known. Using AI they will monitor the entire Internet in search of illegal actions with crypto assets.”.
As the pre information of that existing account is mandatory for the successful results, Dmitry Goroshevsky, CTO of TON Labs adds “Next, if you want to open an account on some legitimate crypto exchange , and then withdraw funds to an account associated with transactions with an account from the darknet, then this is a reason for the exchange security officer to pay attention to your account.”
This system aims at allowing cyber police to:
- Monitor and analyze the movement of digital financial assets (DFA) and identify service providers;
- Conduct investigations related to the illegal circulation of CFA;
- Partially remove the anonymity of participants in transactions with cryptocurrencies in the systems Bitcoin, Ethereum, Omni, Dash and Monero (the last two systems of increased anonymity) by classifying them according to a set of the most common profiles of crypto transactions;
- Scan the Internet to detect images with fundraising details for signs of terrorist financing, as well as to identify messages related to money laundering and terrorist financing.
The project is under development. There is no doubt on the fact that this project will help in tracking a large amount of malicious transactions, but the researchers have to keep in mind that blockchain is not a small network that can be easily tracked. The blockchain is spread all over the internet and thus proper strategies are needed to monitor all the transactions.