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|Peer2Peer communication via Testnet systems of blockchain networks : a new playground for cyberterrorists?
Computers and civilization
|Pfeiffer, A., Wernbacher, T., & Bezzina, S. (2021). Peer2Peer communication via Testnet systems of blockchain networks : a new playground for cyberterrorists?. 20th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security ECCWS 2021. 615-618.
|Peer2Peer communication can take place in the traditional way via e-mail, forums or social media. One also finds dedicated apps for communication or organized in groups, such as WhatsApp, Telegram or Discord, the latter being particularly popular with digital gamers. Online games are another medium which can foster communication between people over a data connection, as direct messages can be sent through the provisions of the digital game worlds. Depending on the game provider and its headquarters, the terms and conditions differ in how the data is transmitted and processed. Access to private communications is important for governments and especially for the police work, for both to prevent and follow up on cybercrime and terrorist acts. On the other hand, the private and civil rights movements push for such interventions to occur only in the case of absolutely justified suspicion, with otherwise restricted access to transmitted conversations and data of private individuals and companies. Therefore, it is important that such access to messages is confirmed in advance by a law court. But even with approval, it is still difficult for the authorities to gain access from a technical perspective. While IP addresses and open communication can be intercepted quite easily, it is more difficult when secure messenger apps are used and only possible if there is direct access to the user's device or the app operator provides the authorities access via a master key. In digital games, access is even more complicated. In this work-in-progress paper the authors want to address a currently overlooked aspect of Peer2Peer communication; which is the provision of text messages via (testnet) blockchain systems, with special regard to the possibility of attaching encrypted messages to the transaction of blockchain tokens. It is to be noted that on the testnet versions of the blockchain systems no "KYC" takes place. While on the mainnet versions of the blockchain systems the purchase of tokens to send them later can only be done anonymously "over the counter", the testnet of most blockchain systems is completely free available. Everyone can create a blockchain Wallet, request testnet tokens and start sending encrypted messages anonymously. This work-in-progress paper aims to highlight and explain the authors' planned research in this field.
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