Saturday, April 15, 2017

Swiss Cantonal Police Facing Difficulties In The Prosecution Of Dark Net Criminals

According to a report, the cantonal police in Bern, Switzerland is confronted with new challenges when they are investigating cybercrime-related cases.

The Swiss cantonal police published a crime report on Monday, in which they only gave a few words to cybercrime. According to them, the investigations against internet criminals are “very complex and elaborate”. Law enforcement authorities admitted that they are facing difficulties in the prosecution and identifying of the criminals, which resulted in many cases where cybercriminals successfully conducted criminal operations.

According to the police study, the design of dark net marketplaces is similar to online auction houses like eBay or Ricardo. However, the products advertised on the illegal websites are not so legal. Examples include an AK-47 assault rifle ($2065), five grams of heroin (900 US dollars), a stolen Amazon customer account with $1348 ($149.99). The canton police reported that currently, AlphaBay is the largest online marketplace on the dark side of the internet, which provides anonymity to the customers with the use of encryption tools.

The impact of such offers in the real world had been shown by the Münich shooting incident in last July. The gunman had bought the Glock gun from a darknet vendor residing in Germany, with which he killed nine people and himself. Even in the canton of Bern, the illegal purchase of weapons from the dark web sellers is not a novelty. In January, the Bern Canton Police arrested a man who attempted to buy a pistol and a muffler from the dark net. In addition to the attempted firearm purchase, the suspect is accused of stabbing a man in Zurich.

“The offense is mostly committed in the physical world and recorded as such. Several offenses could be clarified and the perpetrators could be identified. But crimes would not only be committed digitally. There will also be burglars still in ten years. In addition, not all criminals find themselves in the technical world,” Thomas Sollberger, head of the criminal department of the Bern police, reasoned in a statement why law enforcement authorities are facing difficulties in the prosecution of cybercriminals.

According to Sollberger, cybercriminals act on the dark web in complete anonymity, which hardens the investigator’s’ job. His biggest fear is not the criminal activity conducted exclusively on the darknet, but the cybercriminals who are also active on the clearnet (the normal part of the internet). The increasing technical development worries the police official, which gives hackers an advantage against law enforcement.

“Cyber Criminality presents us with great challenges. It is impossible to predict what is coming next,” Sollberger said. “But much has to do with conventional police work, enriched with IT knowledge. The police could count on “Internet specialists” in their ranks. We are quite well positioned. Moreover, we are in close contact with the federal government and the German authorities, for example.” the official said when he was asked about the methods police have against cybercriminals.

The Observer journalist Otto Hostettler has been researching the dark side of the internet for several months, interviewing cybercrime specialists and IT experts. After he completed his thorough research, he published the results in a book.

“There is a great deal to come to us.” This ‘shadow economy’ would grow rapidly. Already on Alphabay, more than 200,000 listings can be ordered in the field of drugs alone. The hurdles are easy to master. You just need an anonymous browser and Bitcoin’s digital payment tool,” the journalist concluded the dangers darknet allegedly poses to the world.

The Swiss authorities are often overwhelmed by this “new criminalistic phenomenon”, according to Hostettler. He said that “there is a surprisingly great ignorance among investigating authorities.” It’s the attitude towards cybercrime, which worries him, but as a positive example, he calls the coordination center to fight internet crime.

“But also successful investigations have already been carried out in Bern,” he said.

Law enforcement authorities do not face such hard challenges against dark net criminals in all of the country. For example, in Zürich, authorities founded the Center for Cybercrime, which helped police in the prosecution of internet criminals in numerous cases.