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Anonymous Networks and Currencies

Law enforcement (LE) agencies face significant challenges investigating criminal activity involving the use of anonymous networks and cryptocurrencies. Anonymous networks are intentionally configured to keep browsing and personally identifiable information—such as IP addresses—anonymous. Though there are many legitimate uses for this technology, it also has broad appeal with criminals seeking to evade law enforcement. This project seeks to develop cost-effective and novel solutions to aid LE agencies in their investigations into criminal activity in these areas.


Child exploitation, human trafficking, arms and drug trafficking all take advantage of the anonymity these platforms offer. LE is involved in serious investigations involving these platforms and, because of technical limitations, traditional investigative methods, which are time-consuming and labor-intensive, are relied upon.


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) is developing cost-effective solutions for LE components to complement and expand their capabilities to investigate crimes involving anonymous networks and cryptocurrencies. Strong partnerships with LE results in identification of requirements for solutions fitting specific investigative needs, while protecting the privacy and the legitimate uses of anonymous networks and cryptocurrencies.


New Tor Service Protocol: DHS S&T is developing a new service protocol for The Onion Router (Tor) that will provide stronger encryption and protections for law enforcement communications within anonymous networks. This effort will improve security through protocol enhancements and provide end-to-end encryption.

Safe Aggregation of Usage Statistics: DHS S&T is developing techniques to provide for a safe aggregation of usage statistics within anonymous networks, while respecting and protecting the privacy and anonymity of anonymous network users.

Cryptocurrency Forensics: DHS S&T is developing tools to enable LE to perform forensic analysis of cryptocurrency transactions and facilitate the tracing of currencies involved in illicit transactions.


For the latest information about S&T Cybersecurity, visit the S&T Cybersecurity News, Publications, Videos and Events pages.

Fact Sheet

Anonymous Networks and Currencies Fact Sheet

Last Updated: 01/12/2023
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