A French police officer who used to work for Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI) or the General Directorate for Internal Security - a French intelligence agency - was arrested last week for selling confidential police data on the dark web in exchange for Bitcoin.
Authorities refrained from releasing the officer’s official name but said that he operated using the username “Haurus” on the dark web market known as the “Black Hand”. The officer was also charged with counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, countering cybercrime and surveillance of potentially threatening groups, organizations, and social phenomena.
The newspaper Le Parisian, in a report, said that it obtained a statement of one of the clients of the arrested French police officer.
Investigators said that Haurus claimed he could retrieve the bank statement of an account holder in exchange for the holder’s mobile number and €30 ($34). Moreover, Haurus also reportedly claimed that he could also hand over details such as an individual’s civil status information, social security, vehicle registration details and more, depending upon the amount of money he was offered.
According to the Le Parisian report, the police officer was part of a sensitive division of the main French intelligence service. Investigators suspect that he could have pilfered confidential police files to which he already had access, and later sold them on the dark web.
The sensitive information reportedly aided cybercriminals in conducting many illegal activities, such as weapons and drug trafficking. However, at present investigators have not found any connections between Haurus and any terrorist organizations.
The officer also reportedly posted advertisements offering to share the location of a mobile device using just the victim’s phone number. He advertised the system as a way to track spouses or members of competing criminal gangs, ZDNet reported.
Investigators say that Haurus played an active role in the production of false administrative documents, handing over them to cybercriminals. Haurus also posted advertisements on the dark web that offered to notify dark web criminals about what information the French police had on them and whether they were being tracked by the police.
The illegal activities carried out by the police officer was first tracked down by the judicial police. Then further investigations were conducted by the internal security service of the DGSI.
Using the personal code that every French officer is provided, the internal security investigators were able to zero in on the real identity of the corrupt officer. This code allows the authorities to track the origin of a file query and monitor the history.Haurus was charged on September 26 and arrested two days later in Nanterre, Hauts-de-Seine. It is still unclear as to how much jail-time Haurus is expected to receive. However, violation by a state agency is punishable by up to seven years imprisonment. A fine of €100,000 can also be imposed in the event that “confidential defense” or “secret defense” data, protected by the DGSI, is misused in any manner.