Building cybercrime tools for law enforcement with COPKIT

"We had two use cases, one was illegal firearms trading and the other one was crime as a service, so people advertising their talents or services online, most of them on the dark market"

Projects involved

The rate of cybercrime has increased in the wake of COVID-19. Cybercriminals are developing and boosting their attacks at “an alarming pace”, according to Interpol. Cybercrime is also evolving and as COVID-19 continues to persist, a further increase in cybercrime is highly likely in the near future.

EU-funded projects like COPKIT are supporting law enforcement agencies by developing technologies designed to take down cybercrime.

The project, which closed in September 2021, developed a range of prototype tools that do everything from scraping the darkweb for people selling weapons and illegal services to analysing crime hotspots based on open data.

“We had two use cases, one was illegal firearms trading and the other one was crime as a service, so people advertising their talents or services online, most of them on the dark market,” says Corinna Pannofino of TRILATERAL RESEARCH, who was responsible for dissemination and exploitation for COPKIT.
The toolkit was set up in a modular fashion, so each tool can be used individually or as part of a more comprehensive kit.

For example, one tool scrapes the dark web for ads selling weapons, and another one provides the first tool with the necessary vocabulary to do this. Another tool analyses the connections between the customers, or the people selling the firearms.



Trilateral Research also developed an approach that assesses and ensures the tools have been developed ethically and don’t break data protection and human rights laws.

COPKIT had a great technological innovation but no idea how to exploit its results properly. Having availed of Horizon Results Booster services before, as part of a project called EERAdata, Pannofino suggested that COPKIT apply for the Portfolio Dissemination and Exploitation Services under Horizon Results Booster. They were selected!

“We had so many key exploitable results, but we chose three for the workshops,” says Pannofino. She has now taken part in four Horizon Results Booster workshops altogether, two for EERAdata and two for COPKIT.

She says that having the facilitator at the workshops available to answer questions and to give examples was extremely useful.

“The templates were very helpful to mentally organise your thoughts but also having someone who is able to go through it with you is very helpful.”

Overall, Pannofino found the services useful for both COPKIT and EERAdata and she continues to recommend it to others working in the field.

“We were very happy with the service and I’m sure the other partners found it useful as well. I think they weren’t sure what to expect in the beginning but I think that they were pretty impressed by how it all was organised and how it all worked. I keep recommending these services to others in case they need it.”