Following a four-month investigation, Interpol announced that police in Africa had detained 10 suspects in connection with a global fraud scheme worth an estimated $800,000. The Africa Cyber Surge Operation, which took place from July to November, included 27 nations, according to the international law enforcement agency.
Interpol said that the operation was coordinated from the Interpol Command Center in Kigali, Rwanda, and was aimed at combating the facilitators of cybercrime. As a result, authorities in the area took action against 200,000 pieces of “malicious cyber infrastructure,” including botnet-connected software used to carry out large-scale phishing, spam, and online extortion schemes.
Police in Eritrea removed a darknet market selling components for cybercrime-as-a-service, while in Tanzania, they collected over $150,000 from victims in data infringement and copyright cases. Law enforcers in Cameroon stopped several bitcoin frauds, including one that cost a victim more than $12,600. Ten people were detained in connection with fraud, while an additional person, 11, was detained on suspicion of child abuse charges.
The Africa Cyber Surge Operation’s success was largely due to cooperation. Interpol collaborated with Afripol, its regional counterpart, private security companies including Trend Micro, Fortinet, Group-IB, and Kaspersky, regional ISPs and CERTs, hosting companies, and other parties like the nonprofit Shadowserver Foundation. Interpol revealed that there are CERTs in 18 participating nations, and, more importantly, authorities have now formally established agreements to codify response activity in the future.
Many nations took part in this operation for the first time. The operation was wedged between a debrief in Mauritius in November and a two-week training program in Kigali, where participants learned about cryptocurrencies and cybercrime investigations.
“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,” explained Interpol.