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The International Police Organization (INTERPOL) has announced the arrest of 3 Nigerians for their alleged involvement in cyber-crime targeted at government agencies and private sector companies in over 150 countries since 2017.

Their apprehension follows a joint INTERPOL, Group-IB and the Nigeria Police Force cybercrime investigation called Operation Falcon.

This disclosure was contained in a statement which was published on the INTERPOL website on Wednesday and obtained by Nairametrics.

The statement says that the Nigerian nationals are believed to be members of a wider organized crime group responsible for distributing malware, carrying out phishing campaigns and extensive Business Email Compromise scams.

What they are saying

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While describing their mode of operation, INTERPOL alleged that the suspects developed phishing links, domains, and mass mailing campaigns in which they impersonated representatives of organizations and then used these campaigns to disseminate 26 malware programmes, spyware and remote access tools, including AgentTesla, Loki, Azorult, Spartan and the nanocore and Remcos Remote Access Trojans.

The statement partly reads, “These programmes were used to infiltrate and monitor the systems of victim organizations and individuals, before launching scams and syphoning funds. According to Group-IB, the prolific gang is believed to have compromised government and private sector companies in more than 150 countries since 2017.”

“Group-IB was also able to establish that the gang is divided into subgroups with a number of individuals still at large. While investigations are still ongoing, some 50,000 targeted victims have been identified so far.”

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According to the statement, the year-long investigation, saw INTERPOL’s Cybercrime and Financial Crime units work closely with Group-IB to identify and locate threats, and ultimately, assist the Nigerian Police Force, through the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Abuja, in taking swift action.

INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Director, Craig Jones, highlighted the outstanding cooperation between all those involved in the investigation while also pointing out the importance of public-private relationships in disrupting virtual crimes.

He said, “This group was running a well-established criminal business model. From infiltration to cashing in, they used a multitude of tools and techniques to generate maximum profits. We look forward to seeing additional results from this operation.”

What you should know

Cyber-crime has been on the increase amongst Nigerians both within and outside the country. This is one in a series of many high profile arrests of Nigerians who have been involved in internet scam. This includes the arrest of about 80 Nigerians in the US for their involvement in $46 million internet scam, charging of 6 Nigerians for $6 million internet fraud in the US and so many others.

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