Europol, the law enforcement agency of the European Union (EU), warned that the virtual currencies Zcash, Monero and Ethereum are increasingly used in the digital underground market. The agency, however, reiterated that the main Bitcoin cryptocurrency remains the preferred currency in cybercrime.
In its 2017 report on the evaluation of organized crime threats on the Internet (IOCTA), Europol said that the dark network landscape is changing rapidly. The agency concluded that Monero is rapidly gaining popularity with darkweb due to its “additional security and privacy features”, which makes it one of the easy cryptocurrency options for criminals.
Part of the report says the following:
“Cyber criminals continue to exploit cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin as the currency of choice for criminal markets and as a means of payment for operations related to cybercrime such as ransomware or DDoS attacks, other cryptocurrencies such as Monero, Ethereum and Zcash are winning. popularity in the digital metro. “
The report also details the main reason why cryptocurrencies become a favorite among criminals:
“Transactions can not be assigned to a particular user / address, all parts used in a transaction are” hidden “by default, and transaction histories are kept private.”
Other highlights of the IOCTA report
In his report, Interpol focuses on the popularity of digital currencies in darknet markets. As an example, he cites the case of a Monero-based ransomware called Kirk that was launched in early 2017.
In the case of Ethereum, the report argued that smart contracts based on cryptocurrencies could be used to legalize payments between criminal service providers. He also presented a decentralized dark network market case proposed to operate in the Ethereum block chain.
Meanwhile, the document says Zcash has not yet been the subject of a police investigation. However, the virtual currency would be seen by the darknet markets due to its confidentiality characteristics, which hide both the recipient of the transaction and the amount of the transaction.
The case of AlphaBay
The largest darknet market AlphaBay was closed by Europol in early 2017. The closure was part of a worldwide coordinated campaign in the underground markets. However, before it closed, AlphaBay had already added Ethereum and Monero as payment options, and had already planned to include Zcash.
While any slogan may be associated with criminal activity, such security problems with cryptocurrencies provide an easy excuse for governing bodies to be continually skeptical about the value and security of digital currencies.