Nigerian cybercrime fraud: 11 suspects arrested, syndicate busted

Gandalf_The_Grey

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The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) has arrested 11 alleged members of a prolific cybercrime network as part of a national police operation coordinated with INTERPOL.

Arrested by officers of the NPF Cybercrime Police Unit and INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Nigeria, many of the suspects are thought to be members of ‘SilverTerrier’, a network known for Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams which have harmed thousands of companies globally.

The ten-day Operation Falcon II (13-22 December) saw 10 NFP officers deployed from the Abuja headquarters to Lagos and Asaba to arrest target suspects identified ahead of time with intelligence provided by INTERPOL.

Field operations were preceded by an intelligence exchange and analysis phase, where Nigeria used INTERPOL’s secure global police communications network, I-24/7, to work with police forces across the world also investigating BEC scams linked to Nigeria.

The INTERPOL General Secretariat supported field operations 24/7, forensically extracting and analyzing data contained in the laptops and mobile phones seized by NPF during the arrests.

This preliminary analysis indicates that the suspects’ collective involvement in BEC criminal schemes may be associated with more than 50,000 targets.

One of the arrested suspects was in possession of more than 800,000 potential victim domain credentials on his laptop.

Another suspect had been monitoring conversations between 16 companies and their clients and diverting funds to ‘SilverTerrier’ whenever company transactions were about to be made.

Another individual was suspected of taking part in BEC crime across a wide range of West African countries including Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria.

“By alerting Nigeria to this serious cybercrime threat, INTERPOL enabled me to give the order to hunt down these globally active criminals nationwide, flushing them out no matter where they tried to hide in my country,” said Assistant Inspector General of Police Garba Baba Umar, Head of NCB Abuja and INTERPOL Vice President for Africa.

“The outstanding results of Operation Falcon II have served to disrupt this dangerous cyber gang and protect Nigerian citizens from further attack. I encourage fellow African countries to also work with INTERPOL in ridding our continent of cybercrime to make the cyber world a safer place,” added Mr Umar.