An INTERPOL-led operation to crack down on cybercrime across Southeast Asia has led to the arrest of three fraudulent suspects worldwide in Nigeria.
A statement from the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) stated that the suspects were arrested at the same time in Lagos’ Ajegunle area and in Benin City, 300 kilometers (100 miles) east of the commercial capital.
The anti-graft center says Nigerian surgery comes as part of an international “Killer Bee” project that includes INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and law enforcement in 11 Southeast Asian countries.
” The arrest follows the publication of an INTERPOL Cyber report linking Nigerian fraudsters operating off the West African coast using a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) known as Agent Tesla.
The men are thought to have used RAT to redirect financial transactions, steal confidential online communications information to corporate organizations, including oil and gas companies in South East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. ” The statement read.
The EFCC says one of the fraudsters, Hendrix Omorume, has been charged with three counts of serious financial fraud and convicted and sentenced to one year in prison while the trial of others continues.
“Through its international police program and regular cyberspace monitoring, INTERPOL has had the global intelligence needed to warn Nigeria of a major security threat where millions would be lost without immediate police action.
More arrests and prosecutions are being seen around the world as intelligence continues to come under investigation ” said INTERPOL Cybercrime Director Craig Jones.
INTERPOL assisted in inspecting the laptop and cell phones seized by the EFCC during the arrest, helping to ensure the planned use of “Agent Tesla” malware to access business computers and alter money transactions in their accounts.
“Cybercrime crime is rampant, as new trends continue to emerge. Through projects such as Killer Bee, INTERPOL has partnered with the EFCC to keep up-to-date with new technologies and to understand the opportunities for criminals and how they can be used as tools to fight cybercrime.
Enforcement actions led by Nigeria and coordinated by INTERPOL send a clear message that cybercrime will have serious consequences for those involved in business email fraud, especially in Nigeria ” EFCC Operations Director Abdulkarim Chukkol said.
The three men, aged between 31 and 38, were each arrested with forged documents, including forged invoices and forged official documents.
Operation Killer Bee is led by the ASEAN Cybercrime Operations Desk, sponsored by Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) 2.0 and sponsored by the Singapore Government.
Working partners include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.