African Police Bust $800K Fraud Schemes

Written by

Police in Africa have arrested 10 people connected to global fraud worth an estimated $800,000, after a four-month operation, Interpol has revealed.

The global policing organization said that 27 countries joined the Africa Cyber Surge Operation, which ran from July to November.

Coordinated from the Interpol Command Centre in Kigali, Rwanda, the operation focused on tackling the enablers of cybercrime, Interpol said.

As such, police took action against 200,000 pieces of “malicious cyber infrastructure” across the region, including botnet-linked technology used to run mass phishing, spam and online extortion campaigns.

In Tanzania, police recovered over $150,000 of victims’ money from data infringement and copyright cases, while in Eritrea, they dismantled a darknet market selling cybercrime-as-a-service components.

In Cameroon, police disrupted multiple cryptocurrency scams including one that cost a victim over $12,600.

Alongside the 10 individuals arrested in connection with fraud, an eleventh was arrested on suspicion of committing child abuse offenses.

Collaboration was key to the success of the Africa Cyber Surge Operation. Interpol worked with its local equivalent Afripol; private sector security vendors including Trend Micro, Fortinet, Group-IB and Kaspersky; local ISPs and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs); hosting providers; and other players like the non-profit Shadowserver Foundation.

Eighteen of the participating countries have CERTs and, crucially, police have now put in place agreements to formalize response work for the future, according to Interpol.

Many countries were participating for the first time in such an operation. The operation was sandwiched between a two-week training course in Kigali, in which participants learned about cryptocurrency and cybercrime investigations, and a debrief in Mauritius in November.

“The Cyber Surge activities have also led to newly introduced legislative protocols and the establishment of a series of cybercrime departments in member countries, which will further contribute to reducing the impact of cybercrime and protecting communities in the region,” Interpol explained.

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?