That digital insecurity and cyber threats in Africa are real was forcibly brought to light by a joint Interpol/Afripol operation across 25 of the continent’s 54 countries.
The four-month Africa Cyber Surge II operation focused on identifying cybercriminals and compromised infrastructure. It saw 14 suspected cybercriminals arrested and 20 674 suspicious cyber networks identified. Networks identified were linked to financial losses of over US$ 40 million according to Interpol.
The operation sought to facilitate communication, provide analysis and share intelligence between countries, streamlining co-operation between African law enforcement agencies to prevent, mitigate, investigate and disrupt cyber extortion, phishing, business email compromise and online scams.
By leveraging actionable private sector intelligence, it underlined how cybersecurity is most effective when international law enforcement, national authorities, and private sector partners co-operate to share best practices and pro-actively combat cybercrime.
Interpol, Afripol and private sector partners Group-IB and Uppsala Security provided on-the-ground operational support, sharing actionable intelligence throughout the operation.
Some highlights listed by Interpol are in Cameroon, acting on a Côte d’Ivoire tip-off, three suspects were arrested in connection with an online scam involving fraudulent sale of art works worth USD 850,000; Nigerian authorities arrested a suspect accused of defrauding a Gambian victim; Mauritian police arrested two money mules linked to scams initiated through messaging platforms; n Gambia, proactive measures and partnerships led to the take down of 185 Internet Protocols (IP) connected to malicious activities; two Darknet sites were taken down following actions by Cameroonian authorities; and in Kenya, authorities took down 615 malware hosters.
Cyber Surge 11 reports contain information on: 3786 malicious command and control servers; 14,134 victim IPs linked to data stealer cases; 1,415 phishing links and domains; 939 scam IPs and over 400 other malicious URLs, IPs and botnets.