What exactly is NFT? This may be a question that will not be able to give an accurate answer for a long time in the future. A very important reason is that, as a new technology that is extremely versatile but needs to be further explored, NFT itself is in a historical period of rapid development and self-change. In this case, our knowledge of it may only be the tip of the iceberg, and the “iceberg” is growing at a speed that surpasses our knowledge .
Can NFT be used for crime? In recent days, Sister Sa’s team found that in addition to helping money laundering, NFTs may also be used for special crimes under certain circumstances, endangering national security and other social legal interests, and the existing supervision mechanism is difficult. Play a role in this issue.
1. Digital artwork with hidden mystery
I believe everyone has seen or heard of a famous and classic movie: “The Da Vinci Code”. In the film, the male protagonist Robert Langdon is commissioned to investigate a series of works of art with Da Vinci. In the process of cooperating with the heroine Sophie Neveu to sort out many strange symbols and codes, he discovered that some secret clues are hidden in Leonardo’s works of art. These works of art seem to have huge secrets hidden behind them. .
Information encryption is an ancient science. Fast, efficient and secret transmission of information is the key to victory in all struggles. In ancient China, there were many methods of encrypting information, and the “Blue Goose Case” is a classic case.
According to historical records, in 683 AD, Emperor Gaozong died and Wu Zetian made Li Dan, the fourth son of Wu Zetian, as the emperor. The prime minister Pei Yan wanted to launch a coup d’etat with Xu Jingye, King Luo Bin and others, forcing Wu Zetian to return power to Emperor Li Dan. But the letter was intercepted by Wu Zetian before it could be sent out.
However, the unsent secret letter only had the word “green goose”, and the officials were confused. And Wu Zetian quickly cracked the encrypted message behind the “green goose”: the word “green” opened up and down means “December”, and the traditional character “鵞” of “goose” opened up and down means “I am free.” Therefore, the message expressed by MeSince is to let Xu Jingye and Luo Binwang lead the troops to attack in December, and Pei Yan responds internally.
So in today’s web3.0 era, is there a similar “Da Vinci password” hidden in the digital artwork NFT? Technically, this is completely achievable and can be achieved in a more secretive form. In fact, after all kinds of encrypted information are hidden in pictures, music, and videos, the method of transmitting secret messages through open channels is nothing new. Since this method is extremely concealed and convenient to transmit, it has been used All kinds of crimes, especially terrorist crimes.
In May 2012, when an al-Qaeda was arrested in Berlin by the German Federal Criminal Police based on informants, the police found that he was carrying a memory card with him. On the surface, there was only a pornographic video named “KickAss” on the card. , But there are unusual noises and blurry sound effects during playback.
According to a report in a German magazine, computer criminal investigators succeeded in cracking the secret of the video: about 140 text documents were hidden in this seemingly crude pornographic video. According to the official spokesperson of the German Federal Criminal Police, these documents include a large number of al Qaeda’s operational reports and future operational plans.
2. How can NFT be used to transmit information?
Since digital artwork is a very common commodity in the NFT market, this means that the use of digital artwork to encrypt, hide and transmit information is inherently a good cover. Below we will use the simplest method that can be learned by the author with zero computer foundation to show you how to hide a text file in txt format into a picture in jpg format.
First of all, we need to select a txt file and a picture in jpg format, and create a new folder, put the picture in it, and convert it into a compressed file. For easy operation, we named the picture 1.jpg and the compressed file 1.zip.
Then we directly enter “cmd” in the “Search programs and files” box of the computer, and press the enter key to pop up the dos command window to open the interface.
At this time, drag the 1.jpg picture and the 1.zip compressed file into the folder displayed in the cmd window, using the author’s computer as an example, which is the lenovo folder.
After that, we enter in cmd: copy/b 1.jpg+1.zip 2.jpg command and click Enter.
At this time, a new picture will be born, which looks no different from the previous picture on the surface, but in fact this picture file already contains the 1.zip compressed file. If you want to take out this compressed file, it’s easy, just unzip the image directly.
Just imagine, if the author casts the 2.jpg picture with hidden encrypted information on the public chain as an NFT and puts it on overseas platforms such as open sea, and then trades it to others at a very ordinary price, the data will be easily completed. The mission of going out to sea and transmitting information.
Not to mention that the process of casting a picture into an NFT itself is equivalent to a second encryption, and such an extremely ordinary NFT transaction takes place thousands of times on the platform every day, which can easily form a natural protective barrier and hide many irregularities. the behavior of. Even if you love to entrust an unknowing runner or someone else to cast the NFT for yourself, you can solve the flaw of the pseudo-anonymity of the Ethereum public chain.
And this is just a trick for hiding files that anyone can learn, and in reality there is a very advanced means of hiding encrypted information in pictures-steganography. This method of hiding information has a high technical threshold. Common steganography is realized by special technical tools, by modifying the pixels of a picture, etc., filling in specially encrypted information in different pixels. Even this kind of steganography with the lowest technical threshold is extremely difficult to find: the image after the information is written is almost indistinguishable from the original image. Even the encryptor itself needs special tools to decrypt the information.
The senior female spy arrested in 2010 in a large northern country used this technology to transmit information through public channels in a very secret and ingenious way. The female spy used only the most superficial steganography to successfully confuse various secrets. The information is safely transmitted out of the country for several years.
It is hard to imagine how serious the consequences would be if a professional with sufficiently high technology used this method to transmit stolen state secrets, trade secrets or other confidential information that would have a major impact.
3. Crimes in which encrypted nft can be practically applied
Although encrypted nft can be used as an excellent means of transmitting information, it also has drawbacks. First of all, the encrypted information that advanced steganography can write in pictures, music, and videos is limited, and the more it is written, the greater the possibility of exposure. Secondly, the process of casting encrypted nft is time-consuming and cannot realize the instant transmission of information. This means that encrypted nft is used like calling and sending emails. So what are the possible crimes that fit it?
(1) International smuggling
Smuggling refers to the act of evading supervision and carrying items into and out of the country illegally. In terms of commonly used international smuggling methods, encrypted NFTs can be used to bypass customs smuggling international smuggling activities to help criminals smuggle out a series of prohibited products such as drugs, weapons and ammunition, precious animal and plant products, important cultural relics, and precious metals.
Customs bypassing export refers to illegally carrying taxable, prohibiting and restricting the entry and exit of goods or articles without passing through the country’s open import and export ports and permitted entry and exit of the country. . Smugglers who use bypass smuggling methods generally have smuggling bases at destinations or coastal areas. They are familiar with the situation on both sides of the border and have a certain social relationship. They also have convenient means of transportation. Those engaged in smuggling around the border on land are mainly smuggling groups, border residents and even terrorist organizations.
Those engaged in smuggling around customs at sea generally have marine transportation vehicles, and maritime smuggling has the characteristics of huge amounts and rapid actions. Due to China’s long coastline, complicated ship conditions, and a wide range of smuggling ships, it has caused great difficulties in anti-smuggling. In particular, smugglers use advanced technology to assemble ships and convert ordinary ships into airships for smuggling.
In this kind of international smuggling method, key information such as the time and location of the agreed connection between the smuggler and the docking person is very critical. Such information is generally relatively short, and the encrypted NFT can perfectly assume the carrier of transmitting the information.
(2) International population trading
International human trafficking is an extremely anti-human crime. It uses force, coercion, or other inferior methods to search, transport, transfer, conceal, and receive people, and traffic people around the world as goods. According to the 2017 statistical report of maps of world, the world’s human trafficking industry is about 32 billion U.S. dollars. The United Nations estimates that about 800,000-4 million men, women and children worldwide are deceived and collected from all over the world every year. And shipped out of the country, sold as slaves.
According to United Nations statistics, about 20% of international human trafficking involves the labor industry, and about 80% of international human trafficking involves the sex industry. Trafficked people generally have three encounters: (1) forced to enter the sex trade industry; (2) sold as coolies; (3) killed and harvested their organs. According to a survey conducted by the International Labor Organization in 2012, there are approximately 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, but only 0.4% of the victims can be identified globally, and very few people have been helped or rescued.
According to the public survey data of the US FBI, in many cases, people who have been trafficked will be traded on special trading platforms built on the dark web. We can’t help but think about whether trafficked people can be written into NFT products and auctioned in an open or semi-public way. After all, there is not much key personal information.
Moreover, human trafficking in this way can also interpret the funds of human trafficking as the proceeds from the legal auction of NFT artworks, and by the way, it can also complete the work of money laundering. After all, at the current stage, NFT auction platforms in various countries do not have a strict review mechanism. However, for a larger NFT trading platform, from time to time there are NFT series with sky-high prices. It is difficult for regulators to detect the hidden dirty behind such transactions. Dirty crime.
(3) Crimes endangering national security
According to my country’s Criminal Law, the crime of endangering national security refers to acts that endanger national sovereignty, territorial integrity and security, split the country, subvert the people’s democratic dictatorship, and overthrow the socialist system. The crime of endangering national security is a general crime, and various specific crimes are stipulated in 12 articles in the first chapter of the criminal law. This type of crime is the most harmful type of crime stipulated in the Criminal Law.
Based on the function of encrypted NFT to transmit information, it is in line with the crime of inciting subversion of state power as stipulated in Article 105 of the “Punishment”; the crime of espionage stipulated in Article 110; , Intelligence crime and other crimes are highly adapted. Encrypted NFT can even be used by terrorist organizations as a weapon for criminals to spread terrorist ideas, recruit personnel, and organize attacks.
Fourth, the use of encrypted NFT crime prevention measures
The key to preventing crimes committed by encrypted NFT lies in the cooperation between regulatory agencies and the NFT platform. The current task of intercepting steganographic data from pictures is the same as anti-narcotics, anti-smuggling, etc., like a war without gunpowder-in the face of ever-changing and increasingly advanced and hidden data hiding tools, it is on the huge Internet. Searching for hidden data in files such as pictures, videos, audios, etc. is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Moreover, if you want to search for such encrypted information, even professional investigators must know in advance what characteristics the encrypted file has. For cracking steganography, the mainstream reconnaissance method is to use the specific traces left by various steganographic tools, that is, the data characteristics and the transformation of a specific form left after the file is modified to determine a certain picture, music Or whether the data is hidden in the video using steganography.
It is reported that a few years ago, Backbone Security had established a database containing thousands of steganographic tool trace files. These data are used to determine whether the key to other data is hidden in the file. However, such key and core databases are generally difficult to share between different professional companies and national and international regulatory agencies, which also increases the difficulty of solving international crime problems.
In addition, based on the particularity of NFT products, the process of using steganography to make digital artworks in the process of casting into NFT is equivalent to encrypting the information again, which is tantamount to giving the “badhearted” people a more powerful criminal tool . This may require us to implement more stringent KYC policies and other strict supervision methods on major NFT platforms in the future.
Write at the end
In the era of web3.0 that makes it possible to hold data, various criminal methods will also take the opportunity to develop in a deeper and more secretive direction. Historical experience tells us that every great creation has the possibility of being alienated and improperly used, just like a kitchen knife can be used to cook or kill people.
Sister Sa’s legal team has always firmly believed in the concept: to use emerging technologies in a reasonable, legal and compliant manner to realize their own maximum value . We oppose the use of new technologies for illegal crimes, and we also oppose only seeing the dark side of technology and regulating it across the board.
But in the final analysis, knowing, understanding, and studying the dark side of technology may be a compulsory course for each of us in financial technology and legal affairs. Knowing ourselves and the enemy can be a battle.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/use-the-da-vinci-code-of-the-nft-crime-web3-0-era/
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