Three Nigerians have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a criminal organisation which is said to have compromised thousands of government and private companies in more than 150 countries across the world.
The arrest was carried out by a joint operation of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), Group-IB — a cyber security company — and the Nigeria Police Force.
In a statement on Wednesday, INTERPOL noted that the arrest of the suspects was as a result of a year-long investigation dubbed “Operation Falcon”.
The prolific gang is believed to have compromised government and private sector companies in more than 150 countries, and they have scammed at least 50,000 targeted victims since 2017.
“The suspects are alleged to have developed phishing links, domains, and mass mailing campaigns in which they impersonated representatives of organizations. They 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 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.”
Speaking on the arrest, Craig Jones, Interpol’s cybercrime director, was quoted as saying public-private relationships are important in “disrupting virtual crimes”, as cooperation in investigation will upset well-established criminal business models.
“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,” Jones said.
In a separate statement on Wednesday, Group-IB described the three arrested persons as follows: “«OC» (32 y.o.), «IO» (34 y.o.), and «OI» (35 y.o.)”, adding that they were “identified with the help of Group-IB Cyber Investigations and CERT-GIB teams”.
“The data discovered on the devices of the arrested TMT members has confirmed their involvement in the criminal scheme and identified stolen data from at least 50,000 targeted victims, according to Nigerian Police,” the statement by Group-IB reads.
“Group-IB has been tracking the gang since 2019 and established that around 500,000 government and private sector companies could have been compromised by TMT gang members.
“Based on the infrastructure that the attackers use and their techniques, Group-IB was also able to establish that the gang is divided into subgroups with a number of individuals still at large. The findings on other suspected gang members, whom Group-IB was able to track down, have been shared with INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Directorate. The investigation continues.
“The analysis of their operations revealed that the gang focuses on mass email phishing campaigns distributing popular malware strains under the guise of purchasing orders, product inquiries, and even COVID-19 aid impersonating legitimate companies.”
KanyiDaily had also reported how INTERPOL arrested two Nigerian suspects for alledgedly defrauding a Germany company of €14.7 million in a COVID-19 related scam.