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Interpol arrest sheds light on cybercriminal network

Interpol arrest sheds light on cybercriminal network.

Security software and solutions firm Trend Micro Incorporated confirmed its collaboration with authorities in the arrest of the head of an international criminal network suspected of stealing more than $60 million through business email compromise (BEC) scams and CEO fraud.

According to Trend Micro the arrest is the result of a joint operation by Interpol and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission, and based on Trend Micro research to identify and arrest the culprit.

"Trend Micro is a strong proponent of public-private partnerships in the constant battle against cybercriminals," said Raimund Genes, CTO of Trend Micro. "We have a collective adversary in those who mean to do harm via technology, and we at Trend Micro do all we can to support law enforcement in apprehending and prosecuting these attackers. This is another a milestone for the cybersecurity community working together."

In a statement issued to the media, the security firm said that the Nigerian national is believed to be the leader of a 40-person network across Nigeria, Malaysia and South Africa that provides malware and carries out attacks.

He is also suspected of colluding with money launderers in China, Europe and the U.S. who provided illicit bank account details in which stolen money was housed, said Trend Micro.

"Arrests like this are made possible by partnerships between members of the security community that come together with the common goal of making the Internet a safer place," said Noboru Nakatani, Executive Director of the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation. "BEC scams are particularly difficult to combat due to their complexity, which is why public-private sector cooperation is essential."

In April Nigeria's National Security Adviser Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno said the West African country was losing 1% of its GDP (approximately NGN127 billion) to cybercrime.

According to a quarterly analysis of its global Threat Index – an overview of new and prevalent threats, and rankings of countries' risk profiles globally - cyber security vendor CheckPoint Software Technologies confirmed that at the end of Q1 2016, Nigeria was positioned as the 16th highest ranked country.

The company's Area Manager for East and West Africa Rick Rogers said Nigeria's ranking could be due to a dramatic increase in threats targeting mobile devices specifically.

While controversy has shrouded the ratification of the country's Cybercrime Act of 2015, authorities have established a Cybercrime Advisory Council (CAC), tasked with coordination and technical cooperation of policy, legislation and capacity building (such as training of cybersecurity personnel, investigators, digital forensics personnel, prosecutors, judges and lawmakers).

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