DarkCyber for February 19, 2019, Now Available

February 19, 2019

DarkCyber for February 19,2019, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://www.vimeo.com/317779445. The program is a production of Stephen E Arnold. It is the only weekly video news shows focusing on the Dark Web and lesser known Internet services.

This week’s story line up includes: image analysis applied to hotel rooms used for human trafficking; compromising an iPhone via a text message or email; a new report about digital currency crime; and shipping arms the old fashioned way, via the mail.

Facial recognition systems continue to be criticized for inaccuracy and potential human rights violations. A group of researchers have applied artificial intelligence and image analysis to locate hotels allegedly used for human trafficking and the commission of child sex crimes. Plus the team compiled a database of more than 50,000 hotel rooms. The system matches a known hotel room against a photograph obtained from a human trafficker’s advertisement. By pinpointing the location, law enforcement can direct its resources at that venue. Anyone can contribute by uploading hotel room and short term property rentals to a public website.

The second story focuses on a new way to compromise iPhones produced in the period from 2016 to mid 2017. The technique was allegedly used by former US government personnel working for organizations based in the United Arab Emirates. The Project Raven team used a technique which required only a single email or text message. The payload was sent directly to a target’s iPhone. Once the iPhone received the message, that device was accessible to the Project Raven personnel and allowed text messages, images, and other data to be accessed without the iPhone user’s knowledge. Apple closed the security hole, but the technique was interesting because no clicks, downloads, or other actions on the part of the target were necessary.

The third story describes the free “Crypto Crime Report” available from Chainalysis. This company is one of the leaders in the deanonymization of digital currency transactions, including Bitcoin. With the Dark Web losing traction, Chainalysis reports bad actors have turned to encrypted message apps like Telegram and WhatsApp to conduct advertise and sell their products and services. Customers have shifted from Dark Web ecommerce sites to these distributed, anonymous messaging services. The report includes details of investigative methods used to steal digital currency. The majority of thefts were the work of two gangs. Investigators are engaged in an increasingly fierce game of Whack a Mole.

The final story recounts how a spy stole a secret US missile and shipped the device to Russia in the mid 1960s. Today the same method is used by arms dealers in Europe. Postal services and commercial shipping companies have to identify weapons which are disassembled. The components are then placed in cartons which contain parts for common products like vacuum cleaners and kitchen equipment. The old methods remain valid despite today’s modern technology and knowledge of the methods used by bad actors.

Kenny Toth, February 19, 2019

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