The US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the law enforcement arm of the US Postal Service, has listed a job opening something called an “Intelligence Gathering Specialist.” Candidates must understand bitcoin, darknet markets and how to analyze the information stored on a blockchain.
The USPIS jurisdiction encompasses “crimes that may adversely affect or fraudulently use the U.S. Mail, the postal system or postal employees.” The listing hints the agency is sharpening its cyber crime efforts.
Bitcoin Blockchain Investigations
“Candidates shall be capable of performing a prioritized assessment of the data to identify the most critical and reliable data in order to identify bitcoins, locations, accounts, services, travels, email addresses, IP addresses and other pattern of life data in an effort to determine physical attribution of an Internet identity,” the USPIS stipulates of the Washington, D.C-based position.
The USPIS prefers candidates with experience evaluating internet information in social media, chats, forums, darknets, Tor network, news feeds, internet relay chats and other web materials.
“The investigative/internet analyst shall analyze the data from these various sources and identify investigative opportunities and intelligence to support the many investigative programs within the USPIS to include cybercrime, narcotics, identify theft, dangerous goods and workplace violence,” the USPIS explains.
The Bitcoining Whistleblower
A Redditor, going by the pseudonym ‘btcbadboy’, posted on Monday screenshots seen of an apparent desktop client with the job listing posted. The account, and all related posts, have since been deleted. The original poster (‘OP’), who claimed to work for a government contractor, shared his thoughts on the job listing based on his experience.
“[T]his is more geared towards [darknet markets]…” stated Btcbadboy. “Heroin and opiates are apparently becoming a major issue and for some reason they believe shutting down the DNM’s will help with this…”
According to the listing, the USPIS seeks engineers and analysts to de-anonymize the darknet. This web research could be coupled with USPS databases of everyone’s mail already held on file with the agency, the ‘OP’ opined further.
“We typically work with [USPIS] to staff their tech guys like network engineers and logistic DBA guys,” Btcbadboy comments. “They are hiring 34 people for this role, or ideally 34. I know this doesn’t sound like much but this is a pretty big order compared to most positions with them.”
Btcbadboy adds: “From what i gathered off the phone call suspicious or tainted transactions will be logged to a database that can then be utilized by USPS as well as other agencies. They will also be using the database to find address trends (whatever that means).”
Alongside experience with cyber intelligence and software tools to search and mine the clearnet and the darknet/deep web, the USPIS seeks an individual with an “advanced understanding of methods used by cyber criminals to hide themselves on the internet.”
Commenters expressed the job, for which one must be able to receive a Public Trust and hold a US green card or passport, might resemble the relationship between the NSA and private contractor firms like Booze Allen Hamilton, which provide technicians to the NSA, including whistleblower Edward Snowden.
US Postal Inspectors Crack Down on Cybercrime
The listing highlights USPS efforts to grow cybercrime related abilities.
“The cybercrime program reviews network data, collects forensic images, researches tools and technologies, administers hardware and software, conducts online investigations into black market/dark web activities affecting the USPS, its customer and employees,” states the job listing. “The investigative/internet analyst shall be leverage open source and commercial software tools to review, assess and collect data from a disparate list of open and closed web sources, including but not limited to news publications, blogs, social media platforms, paste sites, government websites, forums, onion sites.”
The USPIS aims to crack down on “high profile market places and cyber-criminals that are using the US mail or targeting the USPS, its products, service, network or employees for attack or exploitation.”
What do you think about the USPIS analyst position? Will you apply? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, USPS, Reddit,