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ATII Announces Winners of Global Dark Web Hackathon

Posted by Brittany Roberts on December 22, 2021
Brittany Roberts

ADF Solutions’ partner recently held a global Dark Web Hackathon in advance of Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative (ATII) the organization that combats human trafficking through increasing awareness, facilitating intelligence integration & technology advancement, and encouraging strategic data collaboration, today announced the winners of the inaugural annual Darkwebathon. The five-day virtual event attracted more than 330 registrants and generated thousands of reports sharing the ultimate goal of creating actionable intelligence so that law enforcement agencies can be equipped with real data to make arrests. 


“ADF Solutions and ATII are tightly aligned in our commitment to combat human trafficking and the related crimes that foster exploitation by empowering investigators and forensic examiners to collect, analyze and report on digital evidence starting with on-scene triage and back in the forensic lab”, said Bret Peters, CEO of ADF Solutions. “Part of ADF Solutions’ commitment to helping speed investigations, is educating today and tomorrow’s investigators with real-world digital forensic knowledge which is why we were pleased to support ATII’s event with free digital forensic training for select winners.“

How it All Went Down

Fifty-eight teams with varying backgrounds and skillsets were asked to create intelligence reports using open-source intelligence, blockchain forensics, and dark web intelligence, focusing on multiple objectives and other challenges. In the Cryptocurrency Challenge alone, ATII had a total of 493 submissions. The challenge was based on submitting the wallet, transaction, and attribution information of identifiable senders/receivers that were involved in a range of illegal activities on the dark web. 

The hash challenge had a significant amount of more submissions, yielding 2,898 hashes submitted. The challenge consisted of locating Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) distribution sites on the dark web and submitting the hashes that were linked to that site. Hades currently has 30,000+ dark web sites that are linked to CSAM and are validated by screenshots (without pictures rendered), vanity URLs, titles, website description, and meta keywords content keywords that are found on the onion sites. Post-event analysis in 3rd party databases has determined that much of this content was not reported previously and could likely be fresh CSAM content from newly discovered material. 

All investigations were performed on ATII’s licensed dark web intelligence platform, Hades. Participants were trained on a variety of other technology applications, like Hunchly, Maltego, TCAE, CipherTrace, pipl, Constella Intelligence, and Blockchain Intelligence Group, that could all be integrated with Hades to aid in their investigative process. A majority of the investigations focused on child exploitation and CSAM, followed by financial crimes, drug, weapons trafficking, and ransomware.

A panel of judges evaluated submissions based on accurate and verified intelligence reports. The participant’s level of expertise ranged from students studying at universities to experts with years of experience in the field and spanning nearly 40 countries. They were from various industries including military, law enforcement, private investigators, compliance, cyber security, and university students. The Darkwebathon is not only an opportunity for students to prepare themselves for realistic cyber investigations but also, a way for all participants to connect and network with industry experts who want to see them succeed. 

“ATII has made considerable effort to provide a platform for law enforcement, investigators, compliance professionals, and threat intelligence companies that will not expose them to harmful and illegal CSAM content while allowing for several layers of validation relating to illicit activities. We are excited to not only allow the public to assist with the investigations but to follow up on the actionable intelligence after the event and to grow our network,” said Larry Cameron, the event organizer and CISO of ATII as he kicked off the event.

Darkwebathon Participant Testimonials

“Our team was provided thousands of selectors including Bitcoin addresses, emails, and IP addresses and conducted an investigation across five days that led to 4 detailed intelligence reports including potential human trafficking, CSAM, and Terrorism leads.

Starting out with only IP Addresses and e-mails, we conducted a 2-day investigation that led to 5 intelligence reports that helped identify people who were related to CSAM consumption or other illegal things.

Although the topic was complicated and devastating, I had the opportunity to get outside of my comfort zone and to learn so many things during the event. My team, SabadOSINT, got the honor of being shortlisted. Thanks, 
Tiby K.Karthika G., and Robert C. for letting me be a part of it; it is during this kind of event where you learn about the importance of having a strong support system." - Valeria S.

Digital Forensic Training in Triage and Anti-Human Trafficking Search Profiles

The winners of the Darkwebathon have been awarded DEI PRO training from ADF Solutions which will allow them to become certified in DEI PRO for free. ADF Certified User Training is designed to help investigators and examiners quickly learn and master ADF Solutions digital forensic and triage software. The training is designed for both technical and non-technical students to prepare them with the knowledge and skills needed to use ADF digital forensic software tools on-scene, in the field, or in the forensic lab. 

ADF Solutions digital forensic experts designed the Digital Evidence Investigator PRO (DEI PRO) Certified User training to equip both technical and non-technical investigators with the knowledge and skills they need to use DEI PRO to immediately extract conclusive intelligence and evidence from mobile devices, computers, and digital media. 

Qualified Law Enforcement professionals can request access to the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative search profiles with a free trial of ADF digital forensic software.

Learn more about ATII and Human Trafficking

Topics: Crimes Against Children, Human Trafficking, Child Exploitation, Dark Web

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