How Interpol arrested a guy who hired a hitman to do acid attack on her girlfriend

An Italian citizen has been arrested as the prime suspect in hiring a criminal to murder his former girlfriend. The suspect would have turned to a platform on the dark web to find a hitman after conducting a quick investigation into how to use this network.

As you may remember, dark web is a small sector within the well-known deep web, an underlying layer not indexed to conventional search engines that can only be accessed through the Tor network. Focused on user privacy and anonymity, this network is an ideal space for multiple cybercriminal activities.

Once the defendant found an alleged murderer for-hire, they agreed on details about the crime, for which the defendant paid about 10k Euros in Bitcoin. However, these individuals did not have that a specialized unit of Europol and the Italian Communications and Postal Police were already monitoring their plan, thanks to a “complex and urgent analysis”, mentions a report from the international police agency.

According to the report, Europol was responsible for tracking the suspect and transferring cryptocurrency, while the Italian authorities analyzed the movements of the trading platform from which the Bitcoin used by the suspect was purchased: “The appropriate intervention of the authorities allowed avoiding any damage against the potential victim,” Europol adds.

Shortly after tracking the cryptocurrency transaction, law enforcement agencies were able to determine the suspect’s identity and arrest him. The defendant is still waiting to hear his sentence. 

Law enforcement agencies around the world employ complex tools to monitor and track cryptocurrency transactions of suspicious origin and allegedly linked to illegal activities. One of the biggest efforts for these cases is the development of GraphSense, an advanced blockchain analysis tool for address search and cryptocurrency transfers.

Another important project of Europol is the development of Darkweb Monitor, a tool for collecting intelligence in cryptocurrency for law enforcement. This tool is still in development.

In a similar case, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) disclosed that an individual originally from Missouri was arrested for trying to buy multiple chemicals and toxins from a dark web forum with the intention of attacking his ex-girlfriend. This individual was sentenced to 12 years in prison with no possibility of parole.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.