India’s Cybercrime Detection Center Has Cryptocurrency Threats on its Radar

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The National Cyber Forensic Lab has been created under the Union Home ministry’s Cyber Crime Coordination Center. The unit will focus its energy on cryptocurrency-related crimes to help police officers detect cyber fraud.

Technology for Cryptocurrency Analysis

As per The Hindu publication of February 19, 2019, Rajnath Singh, the country’s Union Home Minister, inaugurated the National Cyber Forensic Lab (NCFL) to enable the state to up its game against cybercrime.

The center will have a particular unit dedicated to cryptocurrency crime, following numerous rip-offs that have emerged involving digital assets. Saying the police force will call for cyber experts to train their officers, New Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik added:    

“We are now equipped with technology to recover data from damaged hard disks, cryptocurrency analysis, malware forensic and data can be retrieved from 33,000 kinds of mobile models available in the market.”

A Welcome Announcement

The announcement is welcome news to a country where there has been snail-paced progress on creating systems that could separate criminal activity from the legitimate use of cryptocurrencies.

The country’s police have had to deal with increasing crypto-related scams that make the headlines regularly, pitting them against the domestic crypto community. The latter believe the draconian stance taken by the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has only contributed to making a bad situation worse.

The RBI enacted a blanket ban that kept banks from serving crypto-related businesses in July 2018. The decision was challenged at the country’s Supreme Court, and a ruling is yet to be made.

A government research panel suggested early in February that it was concerned on the impact of cryptocurrency on the stability of the Rupee, the country’s official and only recognized legal tender.  

$17 Million Crypto Fraud

The formation of the new unit comes amidst the backdrop of the latest action by crime busters who apprehended a gang that had allegedly swindled unsuspecting users of $17 million in a crypto fraud traversing some states.

As per the local reports, the group created a digital asset called “CashCoin” over one year ago, which they sold to investors promising to double their investments. The report said:  

“The accused held meetings in Mumbai, Surat and other parts of Gujarat, and lured people into investing their hard-earned money by promising to double it in two months […] initially; the gang repaid a few investors to lure more people in and then defaulted.”

The Cyber Forensic Lab will include other units like Memory Forensics Labs, Network Forensics Lab, Image Enhancement Lab, Malware Forensics Lab, Damaged Hard Disk Cryptocurrency Forensics Lab, and Advanced Mobile Forensics Lab. This, according to Delhi Police Commissioner, is the first time the country is setting up a dedicated cyber lab.

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