DI Hanson had a great 'sting' idea. If there was a "Wife Disposal Service" operating, he would try to find it and use it in the hope he could locate the players. He would require the help of his subordinates as they were more technically literate than him.
He instructed one of his younger officers, DS (Detective Sergeant) Paul Cooper to pretend to be the husband wanting to un-wife. Paul set about searching on various forums and writing his research on the police computer system. He eventually found entries on various Silk Road forums that looked like they could be the 'service'. He setup some fake email addresses and left some messages. He then got on with some other police paperwork.
Many miles away the Rolls-Royce sped on its way with the two men in the back.
"Has that ex SAS bloke been found yet ?" enquired the first man.
"Yes, Debz eventually found him in Manchester and will offer our deal to him." said the second man.
"Good, we will be needing guys like that. What about the police hacks ?" asked the first man.
"We trained a few prostitutes to become honey-traps. They are working their way through the civilian staff at a couple of police stations. Once they have identified key staff with access to the servers, we can zero-in on them." replied the second.
"What happens then ?" asked the first man.
"We use good old coercion or blackmail to get passwords, access codes, anything to gain access to their systems." replied the second man.
"Excellent. Have there been any bites ?" replied the first man.
"Oh yes, " replied the second man excitedly " the local police are onto us. They don't have any specifics or names yet but they are planning some kind of operation."
"Carry on." replied the first man.
"They are going to pretend to use our 'service' to track us down." said the second man.
"The sneaky gits !" said the first man " ... and you know what they say ?"
"What ?" said the second man.
"A pessimist sees problems in every opportunity while an optimist sees opportunities in every problem." said the first man.
"That sounds about right." said the second man.
"Now, listen carefully ... " said the first man.
"Everybody gather round." said Anton and Unit 5 obeyed.
"We have intel that the police are planning some kind of sting operation on us. So this will need the black-hats and the field-ops to work together, so we can twist this around to our favour." Anton briefed everyone and handed out task sheets. Unit 5 got to work.
The next day DI Hanson, DS Cooper and the rest came to work. DS Cooper checked his emails and saw one from the 'service'.
"Hey boss, we got a bite !" said DS Cooper excitedly.
"OK, lets have a look ... " said DI Hanson "So the 'husband' needs to collect a package from a dead-drop and doesn't get to see the person who put it there ... sneaky !"
"They will probably be watching it." added DS Cooper. "We could put our people nearby and look for 'babysitters', we might be able to track them back to their place"
"Good idea, but those officers would have to be well hidden, so they don't tip them off. OK, lets just play the first part and see where it leads us." instructed DI Hanson.
DS Cooper would play the 'husband' and got ready. The others left and took their positions. DS Cooper re-read the instructions he printed from the email and left. He walked along the road and found a package in the designated waste bin. He took it out and continued walking back to the house. This was to fool anybody who might have been tailing him.
DS Cooper went through the front door and put the package down on a table. He opened the package and took out a USB memory stick and a 'burner' phone. A tech inserted the USB memory stick into a specially prepared laptop and switched it on.
The tech watched the weird boot sequence and said "Ah Tails
, it's a secure operating system normally used by journalists." he entered the password and saw an odd Windows-ish desktop.
The tech clicked the icon called "Target Details" and was presented with a small form. DS Cooper took the laptop and filled-in the form with details about his pretend wife's health, her work and routine, he read the part about tailored, untraceable terminations, he read the part about blended payment methods, he ticked the box to say he could pay the £5,471,000 fee, and he also ticked the box that he understood there was no going back when he clicked "Submit".
"OK we should be able to see what IP address it's going to send the details to and then track it back to the owners" said the tech moving onto a second laptop that had been setup to monitor the Internet traffic from the first.
DS Cooper clicked "Submit" and the tech watched the data appearing on the second laptop.
"OK here it comes ... got it ! ... " said the tech " OK the IP address belongs to ..." DS Cooper grabbed the laptop and called DI Hanson.
"That's odd !" said the tech "they didn't even try to hide their IP address with something like Tor or I2P or whatever !"
"Hi Boss, we have their IP address and it belongs to some local hoods, but this is really strange, they didn't even try to disguise it." said DS Cooper.
"Some criminals are just plain dumb." said DI Hanson not quite getting the significance.
"Agreed boss, but these guys are pros, they seem to be well financed and well-organized, and they certainly ain't dumb. Why would they make it so easy for us to track them ?" said DS Cooper.
"I have no idea. Text me the address, and We'll check the place out." said DI Hanson.
When DI Hanson and his officers raided the building a while later, they struck gold
. They found evidence of various illegal activities including online scams, virus writing, money laundering and drug distribution.
"That was fun" said the first man in the Rolls-Royce, laughing at the news.
"It sure was. How long do you think it will take the police to realise that their 'sting' actually stung one of your enemies instead of us ?" said the second man.
"I'm sure once they go through the evidence it won't take long for them to realise they were stung. I expect they will also realise some of their machines were compromised and search for our hacks too." said the first man.
"That means we will have to hack them all over again !" said the second. "And they will be a lot more careful about their IT systems this time round."
"True." said the first man.
Unknown to DI Hanson, DS Cooper, or anyone else in the police station, a few of their computers had been hacked. This had been done the old-fashioned way by social engineering. This didn't require sophisticated hacks or software, it simply used the weakest link in any security: people.