Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dial-a-dope 2.0: Gangsters using Snapchat

Dial-a-dope operations have been a fixture of gang activity for decades. But as technology evolves, drug dealers have been evolving with it. Dial-a-dope lines are exactly how they sound: Users can call a designated phone number and organize a time and a place for a drug deal to go down.

That’s when the dealer sends ‘runners’ out to deliver the dope. The runner is usually a teenager or young adult, who is promised power, profit, and prosperity by one of the higher-ups in the gang.
In the past, the deals were done through disposable, untraceable cell phones, or ‘burners'. Then came pagers, and after that BlackBerry Messenger. These are all methods of communications that were previously untraceable, made less so as time passed.

Today’s gangsters have unlocked the power of their smartphones to boost business. As BlackBerry Messenger lost its prevalence, things like Snapchat, which is even more secure, replaced it. Snapchat is the main app being used – the information disappears in a couple seconds.
Snapchat is peer-to-peer picture or messaging application: Users can exchange pictures and messages at the push of a button. The difference is, the pictures and messages last for a maximum of ten seconds after opening them.

After that, they’re wiped off of the phone and the data is encrypted. This means police who want to get their hands on any pictures or messages between drug dealer and user will have to go through miles of red tape with Snapchat. Chances are Snapchat’s servers are flushed of information a couple minutes after it's flushed from the user's side. The lack of evidence makes it much more difficult for a law enforcement to catch dealers.
What happens if a screenshot of anything on Snapchat is taken? The other user gets alerted, and that keeps people honest among each other. If your customer takes a picture, you know instantly they can't be trusted.

So what can be done? The only solution to combat cyber crime through Snapchat seems to be getting officers involved in the technology themselves, and staying up to date on the changing outlets of drug dealing.