The International Criminal Police Organisation in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission apprehended three Nigerians for internet fraud.
The INTERPOL-led sting operation codenamed “Killer Bee” aided the arrest of the suspects simultaneously in Ajegunle, a suburb of Lagos State and in Benin City, Edo State capital.
The Nigerian sting operation involved INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters and National Central Bureaus and law enforcement agencies in 11 countries across Southeast Asia.
The suspects' arrest came after an INTERPOL Cyber Report linked a suspected Nigerian fraud syndicate operating from the West Coast of Africa to the usage of the Agent Tesla harmful Remote Access Trojan.
It is believed that the men utilized the malicious Remote Access Trojan to redirect financial transactions and collect private online connection information from business organizations, including oil and gas firms in South East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
As stated by the spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren,the suspects were arrested in a sting operation conducted simultaneously in a Lagos suburb called Ajegunle and in Benin City, Edo State capital.
One of the scammers, Hendrix Omorume has been charged with three counts of serious financial fraud and has been convicted and sentenced to one-year imprisonment while the trial of the remaining defendants continues.
The three men, aged between 31 and 38, were each arrested in possession of fake documents, including fraudulent invoices and forged official letters.
“Through its global police network and constant monitoring of cyberspace, INTERPOL had the globally sourced intelligence needed to alert Nigeria to a serious security threat where millions could have been lost without swift police action,” said INTERPOL’s Director of Cybercrime, Craig Jones.
“Further arrests and prosecutions are foreseen across the world as intelligence continues to come in and investigations unfold,” added Mr Jones.
INTERPOL assisted in examining the laptops and mobile phones seized by EFCC during the arrests, helping to confirm the systematic use of “Agent Tesla” malware to access business computers and divert monetary transactions to their own accounts.
“Cybercrime is spreading at a fast pace, with new trends constantly emerging. Through operations like Killer Bee, INTERPOL supports EFCC in keeping pace with new technologies and understanding the possibilities they create for criminals and how they can be used as tools for fighting cybercrime,” said EFCC’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol.
“The enforcement actions led by Nigeria and coordinated with INTERPOL send a clear message that cybercrime will have serious repercussions for those involved in business email compromise fraud, particularly in Nigeria,” Chukkol added.
Operation Killer Bee is led by the ASEAN Cybercrime Operations Desk, which is funded by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund 2.0 and supported by the Singapore Government.
INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Directorate initiated the operation based on intelligence received from a private-sector partner, Trend Micro, under the Gateway framework, about the emergence and usage of “Agent Tesla” malware.
Operational partners included Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.