Bitcoin remains the currency of the dark web, according to the latest report on cybercrime by European law enforcement agency Europol, although a “pronounced” shift towards more privacy-related cryptocurrencies has been detected.
Entitled ‘Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2019’, the report said bitcoin was still the most frequently used currency – “a consequence of familiarity within the customer base” – but the authors said that the shift towards so-called privacy coins such as Monero would continue as criminals become more security aware.
Europol estimated that around $1 billion had been spent on the dark web so far this year – often on malware for phishing attacks or ransomware, as these types of cybercrime continued to grow.
The report recommended that law enforcement agencies and the judiciary must continue to “develop, share and propagate knowledge on how to recognise, track, trace, seize and recover cryptocurrency assets”. It added:
Law enforcement must continue to build trust-based relationships with cryptocurrency-related businesses, academia, and other relevant private sector entities, to more effectively tackle issues posed by cryptocurrencies during investigations.
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