Cellebrite has launched Crypto Tracer. This is a cryptocurrency investigation solution designed to speed up investigations involving blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Such a tool is becoming increasingly necessary (see also Chainalysis’ Market Intel or Elliptic’s Discovery).
“We’re very excited to offer our best-in-class cryptocurrency tracing and blockchain analytic capabilities to enhance Cellebrite’s Digital Intelligence, training and investigative services,” said Stephen Ryan, COO of CipherTrace.
“As criminals increasingly utilize cryptocurrencies in their illicit activity, our partnership with Cellebrite will be that much more important to making the digital world a safer place.”
Every year an estimated US$76B of illegal activities involve Bitcoin. Almost 100% of darknet market transactions – including the sale of ransomware, illegal drugs and phishing kits – involve cryptocurrencies. In large part, this is attributable to the ease of transacting online and across borders.
The use of cryptocurrencies by criminals is likely also to be about the perceived anonymity. They like that transactions recorded on the blockchain, which is a public ledger, do not identify those executing these transactions (despite anyone being able to see each transaction). Markets and legal authorities, as well as consumers/users, need more transparency.
Cellebrite’s Crypto Tracer
The Crypto Tracer approach, underpinned by CipherTrace, features:
- investigation services
- training programs.
Cellebrite designed these for investigators, analysts and non-technical agents. They enable teams lawfully to obtain evidence and trace criminals who exploit Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) for illicit activities, including:
- money laundering
- drug and human trafficking
- weapon sales
- ransomware demands.
The Crypto Tracer Solution reveals illicit transactions using cryptocurrencies. Investigators have access to aggregated and curated:
- open source and private references
- deception data
- human intelligence.
This results in a dataset of over 522M attributable points. These data points then provide investigators with visibility into the lifespan of cryptocurrency transactions, including where the money originated and where it went, in both wallets and exchanges. Graphic mapping and colour-coded threat level transactions:
- enhance visualisations
- improve the understanding of nefarious activities
- accelerate investigators’ abilities (to pinpoint primary and any associated criminal activity along with perpetrators).
Crypto Tracer capabilities
Powered by CipherTrace Inspector, Cellebrite’s Crypto Tracer offers investigators the capabilities to:
- use a blockchain search engine: by entering a cryptocurrency address or transaction ID into an intuitive search bar it will auto-complete long addresses
- conduct risk scoring: the tools profile hundreds of global exchanges, ATMs, mixers, money laundering systems, gambling services and known criminal addresses – and then assign risk levels to transactions
- provide a ‘Deep Analysis’ of potential risks: non-technical users (without becoming a cryptocurrency or blockchain expert) can visualise transaction flows in order to follow virtual money trails
- demonstrate ‘High-Quality Advanced Attribution’: top entity typologies and attribution collection methods are identifiable within CipherTrace Inspector
- leverage a transaction database: users can understand interactions via a graph which traces both the flow of funds over time and how these make their way through the blockchain ecosystem
- operate with integrated case management: investigators have access to a convenient way to save research, replay searches, export investigation reports and collaborate with others.
“It has long been assumed that blockchain and cryptocurrency transactions remain untraceable and unknown,” said Leeor Ben-Peretz, Chief Strategy Officer, Cellebrite.
“This is a misconception. As a matter of fact, the essence of blockchain is to indelibly keep a record of each step of every transaction. We’re enabling investigative teams to extract this information and use the power of Digital Intelligence to aid them in interpreting the data needed to identify illicit blockchain activity and keep communities safe.”
Additional services – investigation and training
Complementing Cellebrite’s Crypto Tracer tools are:
- cryptocurrency investigation services
- cryptocurrencies investigation training.
Cellebrite’s Advanced Services (CAS) team can conduct criminal and civil cryptocurrency fraud investigations for law enforcement as well as businesses. Cellebrite retains certified forensics experts. These exploit advanced techniques to expose financial cybercrime and fraud schemes by:
- analysing cryptocurrency artefacts
- providing investigative teams with detailed documentation and insights
Cryptocurrencies investigation training involves a 3-day course in best-practices for cryptocurrency investigation techniques. The class teaches investigators how to use CipherTrace Inspector to obtain and analyse evidence about individuals committing crimes using cryptocurrencies.
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
While the attractions of Bitcoin and other public ledger-based cryptocurrencies have their attractions for criminals, the days of certain anonymity may be coming to an end. Tools, though very different, like those from Cellebrite, Chainalysis, CryptoHound, Elliptic, LunarCrush and others, will make a difference.
Crypto Tracer builds on what Cellebrite had offered previously. Indeed, for enterprises, the investigative services and the training may be what delivers the greatest value in the short term. There are too few places where all that is necessary to address illicit activities associated with blockchains come together.