The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) is putting on its virtual reality headsets as it prepares to crack down on an expanding list of “possible crimes” in the metaverse.
According to an Oct. 20 announcement, Interpol has launched the “first ever Metaverse specifically designed for law enforcement worldwide” — introducing it at the 90th Interpol General Assembly in New Delhi — already fully operational.
Interpol outlined that a key driver behind its jump into the metaverse is due to bad actors already leveraging the tech to conduct crimes, while public adoption rates are likely to significantly increase over the next few years.
“Criminals are already starting to exploit the Metaverse. The World Economic Forum [...] has warned that social engineering scams, violent extremism and misinformation could be particular challenges,” the announcement reads, adding that:
“As the number of Metaverse users grows and the technology further develops, the list of possible crimes will only expand to potentially include crimes against children, data theft, money laundering, financial fraud, counterfeiting, ransomware, phishing, and sexual assault and harassment.”
Notably, people have already been put behind bars for their actions in the metaverse. Last month, a South Korean man was sentenced to four years in prison for sexually harassing children in the metaverse, and luring them to send lude photos and videos.
At the event in Delhi, Interpol also revealed plans to develop a division dedicated to cracking down on crypto crime. Interpol secretary general Jürgen Stock highlighted the need for the specified unit, as many law enforcement agencies are not currently equipped to deal with the complexities of the sector.
The special director of India’s Central Bureau of Investigations, Praveen Sinha, also noted that it has become increasingly difficult to monitor cybercrime due to its global nature and that coordination is a key factor that will make their efforts easier.
“The only answer is international cooperation, coordination, trust, and real-time sharing of information,” Sinha said.
The new Interpol metaverse will allow registered users to visit the platform and take a tour through a “virtual facsimile of the Interpol General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France” and partake in forensic investigation courses, among other things.
Interpol has outlined that its metaverse will hopefully provide a more streamlined and efficient way for its various outfits across the globe to communicate and work with each other. While education and training for students/new recruits was also highlighted.
Earlier this week, the Ajman Police announced it would provide its services to customers through metaverse technology, according to an Oct. 16 tweet from the authority.
A cross-chain bridge between BitBTC and the Ethereum layer-2 network Optimism has been able to avoid a potentially costly exploit thanks to the work of an eagle-eyed Twitter user.
The custom cross-chain bridge offers a ramp for users to send assets between Optimism’s network and BitAnt’s decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, which includes yield services, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), swaps and the BitBTC token, in which 1 million BitBTC represents 1 Bitcoin.
The BitBTC bridge bug was highlighted by L2 network Abirtrum tech lead Lee Bousfield in an Oct. 18 Twitter post, warning that “BitBTC’s Optimism bridge is trivially vulnerable.”
Bousfield said he published the Tweet as the “team has ignored my messages, so I’m going to publish the critical exploit here.”
According to Bousfield, the BitBTC bridge had a bug that would allow an attacker to mint fake tokens on one side of the bridge, and swap them for real ones on the other.
“The Optimism L2 side of the bridge lets you withdraw any token, and it let’s that token pick the L1Token address passed to the L1 side of the bridge. However, the L1 bridge completely ignores what the L2 token was, and just goes ahead and mints the arbitrary L1 token!” he wrote, adding that:
“That means an attacker could deploy their own token on Optimism, give themselves all the supply, and set that token’s L1 Token to the real BitBTC L1 address.”
For the bug to be exploited successfully, Bousfield outlined that it would take “7 days to go through, during which the L1 bridge could be fixed via an upgrade.”
Shortly after noting such, someone went on to test that theory, with an attacker attempting to withdraw “200 billion fake BitBTC from Optimism.”
The attacker reportedly claimed that it was merea test.
Bousfield also noted in a subsequent update around 10 hours later that the bug had since been patched after he managed to get in contact with the BitBTC team.
Cointelegraph has reached out to the BitAnt team for confirmation on these details and will update the story if they respond.
Optimism developer Kevin Fichter on Oct. 18 confirmed that the bug was on BitBTC’s side of things, as it had used its own custom bridge as opposed to Optimism’s standard bridge it offers to partners.
Fichter also noted that assets “other than BitBTC are not at risk,” adding that there was a lot of “time and energy placed into the standard bridge” and encouraged people to use the standard bridge “unless you know what you’re doing.”
United States crypto exchange Binance US has created a new “investigations unit” and tapped a former FBI special agent as its new head, with the aim of seeking out and stopping illegal activity on its platform.
The “investigations unit” is a brand new unit within the U.S. crypto exchange, the firm’s head of legal, Krishna Juvvadi, confirmed to Cointelegraph and sees former FBI agent BJ Kang become the company’s first “head of investigations.”
The role will see him partnering with law enforcement, regulators and even other exchanges to seek out and stop illegal activity on its platform, Kang will also build an “investigations infrastructure” for Binance US.
In an Oct. 20 statement, Binance US said it has strengthened its legal, compliance and risk operations over the past year by increasing its department headcount by 145% and dedicating over one-fifth of the company’s total workforce to those functions.
Kang is known for his high-profile investigations into securities fraud and insider trading in the traditional finance space during his nearly 20-year stint at the FBI.
The former FBI agent was once dubbed as “the most feared man on Wall Street” by Reuters after gaining notoriety for being photographed arresting Bernie Madoff — who was found guilty of running the largest Ponzi scheme to date — and Raj Rajaratnam, a former hedge fund manager found guilty of insider trading.
He previously served at the FBI Washington Field Office’s cybercrime squad investigating cyber-enabled money laundering, extortion and hackers targeting crypto and financial firms amongst other crimes.
The appointment of Kang comes as the exchange is facing probes from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which reportedly requested information regarding two companies supposedly acting as market makers for the platform and is investigating how Binance US may have disclosed its potential links to the companies to users.
Binance, which operates separately from its US arm, has also had to fight back against two Reuters exposes over the past year which accused the platform of processing at least $2.35 billion worth of transactions from hacks, investment frauds and narcotics sales between 2017 and 2021.
The most recent allegations on Oct. 17 claimed the platform “swerved scrutiny” from regulators in the U.S. and United Kingdom, pointing out two separate proposals submitted by either employees or affiliates.
In the case of the U.K allegation, it was proposed that Binance backdate service agreements to gain a financial registration exemption, and in the U.S. a proposal to direct authorities’ attention to a U.S. entity instead of to Binance itself.
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