AusCERT 2018 – The DarkNet, Crime and Cryptocurrencies

One of the most anticipated sessions at the annual AusCERT conference is the presentation given by members of the law enforcement community. This year Detectives Ben Johnson and Robert Thomson from the Queensland Police Financial and Cyber Crime Group talked about two cases, one that’s currently in the courts and another that’s heading that way. And while they had to be coy about some of the specific information because of those legal proceedings, they delivered a fascinating insight into two crimes they recently investigated. 

The detectives asked the packed room if anyone in the room had a spare ten minutes to make themselves $30,000. Of course, they noted, the returns were significant but the risks were also real.

Using dodgy IDs to steal from banks

Taking us on a quick journey into the Darknet – the underbelly of the Internet most people never see – Thomson showed the audience Dream Market. Looking a lot like Ebay, this site makes it east for a criminal to buy a full set of identity documents that the detectives said would pass scrutiny in most places, as well as an online bank account. Armed with all that, it’s trivially easy for a criminal to go ahead and apply for a loan, get approval and payment within 48 hours and then disappear with the cash.

The person whose ID was stolen and used to create the identity documents might never know that happened until they performed a credit check or found out that they owed a bank thousands of dollars when they applied for their own loans legitimately.