Benton County Sheriff’s Office Launches New Cyber Initiative To Combat Online Predators

BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) --  In part with cyber security month, Benton County Sheriff's Office is rolling out a new cyber initiative to catch child predators on the dark web.

Recent research shows that predators are using digital currency to purchase child pornography, narcotics, and sex trafficking.

"We have to be able to change when the criminals change and you know it may be bitcoin today and it may be something different in two to three years," Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway.

Because payments are made with digital currency or bitcoins, purchases aren't monitored by the U.S. Government. Holloway says the site is proving to be the next big cyber threat, and in order to keep the community safe they have to get out in front of it before it sustains momentum.

"A lot of these kids are victims and don't even know it," he said.

By mining for bitcoins, the cyber division team will have enough to provide a proof of work, which will allow them entrance into the network.

Holloway said he is sure that new laws will be needed to help take down the cyber predators.

"You know I see going forward with these types of cases there's probably gonna have to be some new laws that are passed." he said.

Benton County Sheriff's Office is hosting a seminar Thursday (Oct.19th)  for parents focused on internet safety. There is limited space available, and to sign up call Sgt. Shannon Jenkins at (479) - 271-1008 ext. 3646