INTERPOL arrests 3,500 suspects in massive cybercrime operation


Photos of a cybercriminal seizure carried out by Operation HAECHI IV.

Photos of a cybercriminal seizure carried out by Operation HAECHI IV.

Interpol, an international police organization, has arrested nearly 3,500 people suspected of being linked to cybercrime in a massive operation. announced Tuesday. Assets worth $300 million in 34 countries were reportedly seized. The operation, Haechi IV, blocked more than 80,000 suspicious bank accounts and warned government officials of new types of scams using AI and fake NFTs.

“The $300 million seizure represents a staggering sum and clearly illustrates the incentive for the current explosive growth of transnational organized crime,” said Stephen Kavanagh, Interpol’s executive director of policing. “This vast accumulation of illegal wealth poses a serious threat to global security and weakens the economic stability of nations around the world. »

Malicious hacks have dominated the news cycle recently, as the Interpol operation reported a 200% increase in arrests this year. Comcast experienced a data breach affecting 36 million accounts according to the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, potentially compromising every Xfinity account. The Rhysida ransomware gang also revealed an upcoming Marvel video game for PlayStation on Tuesday, alongside passport scans of game developers. And last month, 23andMe lost biodata of 6.9 million customers in a hack. At a time when data hacks appear to be getting worse, it’s reassuring to learn that there are 3,500 fewer cybercriminals in the world.

According to the agency, the majority of arrests were related to investment fraud, business email compromise and e-commerce fraud. However, Haechi IV alerted participating countries to two new tactics used by cybercriminals. Interpol found that AI-generated content had been repeatedly used in impersonation scams, online sexual blackmail and investment fraud across the UK. Voice cloning technology was often used to impersonate people known to victims.

Selling NFTs is another fraudulent tactic identified by Interpol, common in Korea, in which victims are promised high returns for their investments. However, these decoy crypto projects are often abandoned after the initial investment. Both of these scams use new technologies that exploit people’s limited understanding of the subject. Kavanagh says the 200% increase in arrests shows the “continuing challenge of cybercrime, reminding us to remain vigilant and continue to refine our tactics against online fraud.”

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