Dark web criminals have created a tool that allows them to check how “clean” the cryptocurrency they use is.
Antinalysis assists criminals in laundering Bitcoin without leaving a digital trace when stepping into the light to trade the currency.
The finding was announced by blockchain security and investigation company Elliptic co-founder Tom Robinson.
Essentially, Antinalysis tells criminals how risky holding a Bitcoin is, based on where it originated from. When criminals began hacking US companies, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) had to step in, looking to retrieve some ransomware already paid out to hackers.
The DOJ vowed to track down criminals wherever they are, which may have spurred them into action. Essentially, hackers want to know whether the Bitcoin they hold will alert authorities that it was obtained from crime when they finally use it.
Detecting hot Bitcoin
Elliptic is familiar with such tools because the company already provides them for exchanges that must ensure that they are not helping criminals launder money.
Antinalysis charges just $3 to generate an assessment and tell the hackers wielding the illegal Bitcoin how likely they are to get caught or exposed.
Further investigation by security guru Brian Krebs showed similarities between Antinalysis and AMLBot, which is designed to enforce and bolster AML. Based on Krebs' findings, Robinson believes that the hackers used the same core software to build their own tool.
According to Robinson, whoever is behind Antinalysis has also hosted other dark web havens, including the Incognito Market which is where criminals go to sell narcotics.
The fact that criminals are now genuinely interested in analyzing their proceeds suggests that law enforcement has really stepped up its efforts.