International law enforcement organisation Interpol conducted a war game scenario last week that centered on discovering the identity of a blackmailer demanding a more than $4m ransom in bitcoin.
Sixty-four participants from 26 countries took part in the event, according to Interpol, which was held over four days between 21st and 24th March. Teams received scores during the war game, earning points when completing certain objectives and losing points when making errors or asking for help.
According to Interpol, the war game centered on a fictional oil company that is being blackmailed by some unknown entity threatening to release corporate secrets unless bitcoin is paid.
The organization explained:
“The investigation began after ‘Cracker10000’ published a page from a blueprint stolen from the fictional Petro oil refinery company on the ‘Webspace’ social media platform, and threatened to post other sensitive information unless a 10,000 bitcoin ransom demand was met.”
Interpol said that the teams involved gathered clues through fictional interviews and forensic analysis of electronic devices. A number of private-sector startups and technology vendors, some of which provided the tools used in the exercise, also took part.
The event was organized by Interpol’s Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI), a research office within the organization that has been working on digital currency issues for some time.
Early last year, the IGCI announced that it had created its own digital currency, a move it said would help Interpol learn more about the technology.
Further Interpol has used bitcoin and the blockchain as fodder for training sessions in the past. Last year, game participants used blockchain data to trace payments in and out of a fictional dark market.
Beyond research, Interpol has held events that focus in part on digital currencies, and last fall inked a deal to work with Europol, the law enforcement arm of the European Union, on investigations involving the technology.
Image Credit: Interpol