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Africa Cyber Surge II law enforcement operation has led to the arrest of 14 suspects

An international law enforcement operation across 25 African countries has led to the arrest of 14 cybercriminals.

A coordinated law enforcement operation conducted by INTERPOL and AFRIPOL across 25 African countries has led to the arrest of 14 suspected cybercriminals and the identification of 20,674 suspicious cyber networks.

The operation demonstrates the surge in cybercriminal activities in the region.

According to the investigators, the networks identified were linked to financial losses of more than USD 40 million.

The arrests are the result of a four-month Africa Cyber Surge II operation that was launched in April 2023 and focused on identifying cybercriminals and compromised infrastructure. The law enforcement operation was coordinated by INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Directorate, under the auspices of the INTERPOL Africa Cybercrime Operations desk and INTERPOL’s Support Programme for the African Union in relation to AFRIPOL (ISPA).

Africa Cyber Surge II law enforcement operation has led to the arrest of 14 suspects

The police arrested three suspects in Cameroon that participated in an online scam involving the fraudulent sale of works of art worth USD 850,000.

Another suspect was arrested in Nigeria and is accused of defrauding a Gambian victim.

The authorities also arrested two money mules linked to scams initiated through messaging platforms.

In Gambia, the law enforcement agencies have taken down of 185 Internet Protocols (IP) connected to malicious activities, while two Darknet sites have been taken down following actions by Cameroonian authorities.

The authorities also took down 615 malware hosters in Kenya.

The cyber networks included 3,786 malicious command and control servers, 14,134 victim IPs linked to data stealer cases. The investigators identified 1,415 phishing links and domains, 939 scam IPs, and more than 400 other malicious URLs, IPs and botnets.

“The Africa Cyber Surge II operation has led to the strengthening of cybercrime departments in member countries as well as the solidification of partnerships with crucial stakeholders, such as computer emergency response teams and Internet Service Providers. This will further contribute to reducing the global impact of cybercrime and protecting communities in the region,” said Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL Secretary General.

The initiative highlighted the strong link between financial crime and cybercrime, it demonstrates the efficiency of coordinated law enforcement operations involving agencies from several countries.

“The initiative highlighted the strong correlation between financial crime and cybercrime, allowing participating countries to expand their law enforcement response by adopting a “follow the money” approach.” concludes the report. “Africa Cyber Surge II was carried out with funding by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, the German Federal Foreign Office and the Council of Europe.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, INTERPOL)

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Author: Pierluigi Paganini