Fighting crime caused by digital currencies

There is no doubt that the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain is an exciting one, but that doesn’t mean that it is immune to scams and rogue operators.

According to some recent research by an ICO advisory firm, Statis Group, up to 80% of ICOs in 2017 was revealed to be a scam or not all that they claimed to be. In a market where it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of new offerings, there is not much in the way of protection or recourse for investors and speculators.

But this is all set to change thanks to one individual, himself the victim of a scam, Patrick Kim. Using his 10 years of experience in network security and system architecture, he created the Uppsala Foundation. Enlisting the help of ethical hackers, he has created a blockchain-based verification service that is available as a plug into Google Chrome.

During the first half of 2018, it is estimated that around $1.6 billion of digital currency was stolen and it has become clear that criminals make use of the dark web to facilitate large-scale crypto theft-exactly what happened to Kim.

Despite taking precautions to protect his money, a small vulnerability in Ethereum’s own wallet, led to him loosing 7.218Eth after hackers took advantage of a two-minute security breach. He decided to conduct research into the issue and concluded that blockchain could actually be used to fight back against hackers, and it was then that the Sentinel Protocol was born.

Sentinel’s Uppward browser is available on Chrome and will keep track of all visited websites flagging any that seem suspicious. Users can also verify data from social media platforms such as Telegram, as well as wallets and URLs. The portal records all hacking incidents as well as crowdsourcing security news, advice and tips. Users are also able to flag certain sites and a pre-chosen Sentinel will validate whether it is reputable or not.

The Sentinels can then input into a Threat Reputation Database which is totally global and powered by individual experiences. Any data that is fed into the database is rewarded through UPP Points currency in the form of Sentinel Points.

Kim explained:

“There are a lot of ways for people to get hacked, whether it’s through a phishing website, malware infection or password compromise, our aim is to collect and provide these malicious addresses as well as scams, frauds, impersonation and other threat data in an accessible database so that funds won’t disappear. Instead, individuals from the comfort of their browser can double check if the destination address is the intended address and if all is exactly what it seems.”

He continued by stating that “If suspicious, we provide sandboxing technology to test any suspicious files and links via a segregated virtual environment. This can prevent phishing and malware infection in the first place.”

Over the next few months, Sentinel Protocol will team up with a number of cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets, and payment service providers to help stem the use of stolen cryptocurrency.

 

If you have any questions in relation to ICOs, and Malta’s legislation regarding ICOs and blockchain please contact us on [email protected]