Massive sting leads to cybercriminal arrests across African continent

  • Interpol has announced details of its Africa Cyber Surge II operations.
  • This multinational operation lead to the arrest of 14 suspected cybercriminals.
  • Over 20 000 suspicious networks believed to be related to $40 million in financial losses were also identified during the operation.

This afternoon, Interpol and Afripol announced the conclusion of a successful operation dubbed Africa Cyber Surge II. Terrible naming aside, the operation lead to 14 suspected cybercriminal arrests.

The operation also led to the identification of over 20 000 suspicious networks, believed to be linked to financial losses amounting to over $40 million.

The authorities were supported by private sector partners Group-IB as well as Uppsala Security which provided on the ground operational support and intelligence sharing,

The highlights from the operation include:

  • Three suspects arrested in Cameroon related to a tip-off from Côte d’Ivoire, about a scam involving the fraudulent sale of art worth $850 000,
  • One arrest in Nigeria on suspicions of fraud,
  • Two money mules linked to scammers arrested in Mauritius.

The operation also struck down infrastructure including 615 malware hosting environments, two darknet websites and 185 IPs linked to malicious activities.

During the operation some 150 reports were created providing insight and intelligence on cyber threats. These reports were created with help from Group-IB, Trend Micro, Kaspersky and Coinbase and detail a massive number tools leveraged by cybercriminals.

The reports contain information regarding:

  • 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,
  • 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,” Interpol secretary general, Jürgen Stock said in a statement.

The operation helped Interpol impart some of its knowledge to African teams including how to expand law enforcement’s response to cybercriminal activity through a “follow the money” approach and knowledge sharing.

Africa Cyber Surge II began back in April 2023 and was funded with help from the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, the German Federal Foreign Office and the Council of Europe.

“As digital systems, Information Communication Technologies and Artificial Intelligence grow in prominence, it is urgent that public and private actors work hand in hand to prevent these technologies from being exploited by cybercriminals. Coordinated operations such as Cyber Surge are necessary to disrupt criminal networks and build individual, organizational and society-wide levels of protection,” acting executive director at Afripol, Jalel Chelba said.

We hope to see more operations such as this conducted with a view to helping Africans as more citizens come online and have to deal with a cybercriminal element.

[Image – Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash]


About Author


Related News