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WEBINT Tools Can Fight Cybercrime

March 15, 2020

Cybercrime is rampant, ranging from fraud and identity threat to hate crime and drug trafficking. Cybercriminals use computer technology to access personal information and business trade secrets, to extort ransom payments, and for other criminal activities. Criminals and persons of interest use computers and digital devices for communications, accessing social media platform, and document or data storage. The most common forms of cybercrime include theft of online banking data, identity theft, online predatory crimes (e.g., stalking), unauthorized computer access to steal data or to extort ransom payments, and even cyberterrorism.

Needless to say, analysis of criminal intelligence is a vital component of any law enforcement agency.  Since generating, processing, and analyzing big data for each investigation is complicated and time-consuming, more and more agencies are looking for holistic solutions that can streamline their cybercrime investigations. They are opting for a web intelligence tool that can perform this task quickly, accurately, and in real-time. Extracting crucial insights from publicly accessible data sources (social media platforms, online forums, etc.) can be the turning point for solving or preventing a crime. An AI-powered web intelligence (WEBINT) tool is critical to detect and pinpoint connections between threat actors and to identify locations where they hang out or are planning e.g., a heist. Such a tool should also be able to generate full reports to assist in criminal investigations. For instance, an AI-powered WEBINT platform can help by discovering stolen data in fraud cases, but also by detecting attempts by cyber crooks to buy or sell stolen goods or information on the dark web.

WEBINT tools, such as the WEBINT platform of Cobwebs, help to address the issue of cybercrime and security. Law enforcement, including Europol and the FBI, are wrestling with how to prevent cybercrime. They need to face old and new challenges to keep up with cybercriminals. While handling their huge workload, they need to stay within budget while improving the cybercrime solving and prevention rate. A major bottleneck is the massive amount of online data that needs to be generated, processed, and analyzed.

Such solutions are the secret to the successful breakdown of cyberattacks by analyzing data relating to key groups conspiring in cybercrime and attacks based on geo-location, the sentiment of what was posted online, the main threat actors, conspirators, cybercrime networks and connections, motives and posted content in real-time. Detecting, extracting, processing, and analyzing these critical pieces of data can only be done using sophisticated artificial intelligence. AI is an essential asset to private and public sector investigations, and the adoption of digital forensics and social media analytics tools is crucial.

The WEBINT platform of Cobwebs extracts targeted data and displays alerts which assist the officers, investigators, and analysts with their operational activities and complex investigations. The platform collects and assesses collected big data. This data is collected from publicly accessible sources on the surface web, deep web, and dark web. Especially the latter is crucial for identifying distinct crime patterns, pinpointing different locations that are connected to a specific person of interest, cybercrime gang, or cybercrime activity. These insights can be used to prevent the next cybercrime or stop the activities of cybercrime syndicates. The WEBINT platform engine allows analysts to search for specific individuals and/or keywords to investigate certain online forums and market places, especially on the dark web where those individuals like to hide. The platform can trigger real-time alerts regarding certain malicious activities, individual threat actors, and their social and business network.



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