Enhancing the knowledge and skills of criminal justice practitioners from South-Eastern Europe in investigating cryptocurrencies and the darknet and using open-source intelligence methods was the focus of a one-week training course jointly delivered by the OSCE and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The course, which was jointly organized by the OSCE Secretariat’s Transnational Threats Department and UNODC Global Programme against Money Laundering (GPML), with the support of the OSCE Presence in Albania and the Albanian Security Academy, was attended by 19 members of various criminal justice institutions from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
The training course provided participants with a comprehensive overview of key issues related to the criminal use of cryptocurrencies and the darknet. The main concepts and current questions linked to compliance, regulation and seizure of cryptocurrencies were discussed. Trainees had the opportunity to operate with real Bitcoin transactions and to practice Bitcoin tracing. The second part of the course focused on investigating the darknet using open-source intelligence. Participants were given a broad and detailed picture of criminal activities on Tor marketplaces and gained hands-on experience by using several open-source resources for investigative purposes.
Since this course is a part of a larger OSCE regional capacity-building initiative to enhance training capacities of beneficiary countries in combating cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime, one day was also dedicated to further developing the training skills of those participants who will serve as national trainers in the next phases of the project.
The course was the fourth in a series of regional training activities, taking place from January until the end of April this year, within this project. The project is a collaborative endeavour of the OSCE Secretariat’s Transnational Threats Department, the OSCE field operations in South-Eastern Europe, and their respective host authorities.
The project’s implementation is steered by a co-ordination board which selects and nominates participants for each regional training activity and will later monitor and evaluate local training activities run by the beneficiaries themselves in the second part of the project.