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Hunting crooks on a digital playground

Chris Player | May 28, 2015
Interpol relies heavily on industry partners to tackle increasing challenge of cybercrime

The Interpol Global Centre for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore

The Interpol Global Centre for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore is the manifestation of these partnerships. Officially opened in April 2015, the centre is a state-of-the-art facility devoted to the tracking and pursuit of cybercrime and the organisations that perpitrate it.

The two staff units that make up the centre, The Digital Crime Centre (DCC) and The Digital Forensic Lab (DFL). The DCC includes an investigative support sector to assist state police agencies with investigations, while the DFL provides real-time monitoring and analysis of threats within cyberspace.

Interpol is by no means a powerless organisation, but without assistance from IT security firms, Honiss said it would be an impossible task tracking the amount of cybercrime on the Web.

"Trend Micro and Kaspersky have made significant financial investment into the centre," he said.

"As part of the agreement, they will bring in experts. We have a malware expert and intelligence people working in there. In the other areas we identify a gap in our capability or see an opportunity for joint collaboration we will identify individuals we know that have been working in the scene or reach out to organisations on specific projects.

"For example, it may be a university where there is an individual that has particular skills or interest and the university is willing to second someone in. We have done a few projects with universities on darknet.

Darknet is a private overlay network where connections are made only between trusted peers using non-standard protocols and ports. The dark web is the most commonly known subsection of the Darknet. Also part of the Deep web, the part of the Web that is not indexed in standard search engines.

"We recently had a professor from The University of Twente in the Netherlands. He spent six months in Singapore working on darknet and virtual currency issues. We worked on some joint research and training development. That is a particular interest of his and it met our need to have very specialist technical skills," said Honiss.

"He is an absolute world expert on darknet and virtual currencies. It is very useful for us as law enforcement officers to have that deep knowledge and technical perspective."

He explained that Interpol has its own internal training programs but also relies heavily on industry and academic partners to augment this training.

"External partners that are brought in have their own specialist skills. One of the analysts at the IGCI at the moment is a malware expert so he has been training our technical people in malware analysis," he said.


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