An Interpol-led operation arrested 14 suspects and identified 20,674 “suspect” networks across 25 African countries that international cops linked to more than $40 million in cybercrime losses.
Africa Cyber Surge II, a combined police operation which began in April and lasted four months, was a coordinated effort between Interpol, African law enforcement and private sector security companies to disrupt online extortion, phishing, email compromise (BEC) and other cyber scams. But since BEC scams costs billions dollars per year, that’s small change.
Interpol, Afripol and infosec companies Group-IB and Uppsala Security provided operational support on the ground, the international agency said. He notably contributed to three arrests in Cameroon linked to an online scam involving the fraudulent sale of works of art worth $850,000.
Additionally, police in Nigeria arrested a suspect who allegedly defrauded a victim in Gambia, and police in Mauritius arrested two money couriers suspected of being linked to scams on messaging platforms. Additionally, Cameroonian authorities shut down two darknet sites and Kenyan law enforcement shut down 615 separate malware hosting operations.
Group-IB, which has worked with Interpol on previous operations, has collected and shared more than 1,000 indicators from its threat intelligence, according to the security outlet.
“Collaboration and intelligence sharing must be at the heart of cybersecurity operations, and Group-IB is ready to make a further contribution to this end, in line with our core strategic mission of combating cybercrime in all its forms,” he said. declared the CEO of Group-IB. Dmitri Volkov said in a statement Friday.
In total, information shared by Group-IB and other private partners Trend Micro, Kaspersky and Coinbase has led to some 150 Interpol analytical reports containing information on cyber threats targeting specific countries, we are told.
These reports included details on:
- 3,786 malicious command and control servers
- 14,134 IP addresses of victims linked to cases of data theft
- 1,415 phishing links and domains
- 939 Fraudulent IPs
- Over 400 other malicious URLs, IPs and botnets.
The first part of Operation Africa Cyber Surge took place between July 2022 and November 2022. It also saw a series of investigations and operations against cybercriminals in the region.
The most recent arrests follow several months of similar activity across Africa as international law enforcement attempts to dismantle cybercrime networks operating in several countries on the continent.
Interpol reported last week that arrest of more than 100 people throughout the EU and Africa. Police also seized more than 2.15 million euros ($2.4 million) in assets belonging to the Black Ax crime/cybercrime syndicate.
The West Africa-based group is described as a “violent, mafia-style” gang specializing in BEC, romance scams, credit card fraud, money laundering and other illicit activities, according to Interpol.
Interpol, which led the operation, said the gang stole between $11 million and $30 million from these organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. ®