An international law enforcement operation led by Interpol has led to the arrest of 14 suspected cybercriminals in an operation codenamed ‘Africa Cyber Surge II,’ launched in April 2023.
The four-month operation spanned 25 African countries and disrupted over 20,000 cybercrime networks engaged in extortion, phishing, BEC, and online scams, responsible for financial losses of over $40,000,000.
Along with the arrests, the authorities have also taken down hundreds of malicious IP addresses that hosted malware and helped distribute dangerous software.
Specifically, Interpol’s and its partners’ investigation, whose findings served as the guidance for ‘Africa Cyber Surge II’ include the following:
- 3,786 malicious command and control servers
- 14,134 victim IPs linked to data stealer cases
- 1,415 phishing links and domains
- 939 scam IPs
- Over 400 other malicious URLs, IPs, and botnets
Group-IB, one of Interpol’s partners in collecting intelligence from cybercrime originating from African regions, today stated that it provided the law enforcement authorities with over a thousand indicators related to malicious infrastructure in the continent.
Based on the above, the operation produced the following highlights:
- Cameroon: 3 suspects arrested for $850,000 online art scam.
- Nigeria: 1 individual arrested for defrauding a Gambian victim.
- Mauritius: 2 money mules arrested linked to messaging platform scams.
- Gambia: 185 malicious IPs taken down through proactive measures and partnerships.
- Cameroon: 2 darknet sites shut down by authorities.
- Kenya: 615 malware hosters taken down by authorities.
Interpol has been actively fighting cybercrime in recent months, disrupting multi-million operations and seizing widely-used crime platforms.
Ten days ago, the organization announced the shutdown of the notorious ‘16shop‘ phishing-as-a-service (PhaaS) platform and the arrest of its main operator.
In July 2023, Interpol’s African branch (Afripol) detained a suspect believed to be a key member of the OPERA1ER cybercrime group, which is responsible for at least 35 attacks between 2018 and 2022, resulting in damages of over $11,000,000.
The first ‘Africa Cyber Surge‘ operation took place in November 2022 and resulted in the arrest of 11 individuals, the takedown of a darknet market that sold hacking tools, and the disruption of 200,000 infrastructure points that aided in the dissemination of malware, phishing, spam, scams, and supported botnet activity.