The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced the arrest of three suspected Nigerian scammers.
They were arrested in an INTERPOL-led sting operation targeting malware cyber fraud across Southeast Asia.
In a statement by the Commission, the sting operation was conducted simultaneously in a Lagos suburb called Ajegunle and in Benin City.
The anti-graft agency noted that Operation Killer Bee is part of a global operation which involves INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and law enforcement in 11 countries across Southeast Asia.
According to the EFCC, the three Nigerians used a technology called Remote Access Trojan (RAT) to redirect financial transactions, stealing confidential online connection details from corporate organizations, which includes oil and gas companies in South East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.
The arrests was sequel to a publication of an INTERPOL Cyber Report which linked a suspected syndicate of Nigerian fraudsters operating from the West Coast of Africa to the use of RAT known as Agent Tesla.
The EFCC quoted Craig Jones, INTERPOL’s Director of Cybercrime saying, “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.”
Mr Jones added that “Further arrests and prosecutions are foreseen across the world as intelligence continues to come in and investigations unfold.”
The EFCC also revealed that it has secured the conviction of one of the scammers named Hendrix Omorume who was charged with three counts of serious financial fraud and has been convicted and sentenced to one-year imprisonment.
It noted that INTERPOL had assisted in examining the laptops and mobile phones seized by the EFCC during the arrests in order to confirm the systematic use of “Agent Tesla” malware to access business computers and divert monetary transactions to their own accounts.
Abdulkarim Chukkol, EFCC’s Director of Operations said cybercrime is spreading at a fast pace, with new trends constantly emerging.
“Through operations like Killer Bee, INTERPOL partners EFCC to keep pace with new technologies and understand the possibilities they create for criminals and how they can be used as tools for fighting cybercrime.
“The enforcement actions led by Nigeria and coordinated by INTERPOL send a clear message that cybercrime will have serious repercussions for those involved in business email compromise fraud, particularly in Nigeria,” Mr Chukkol said.
According to EFCC, The three suspected scammers aged between 31 and 38 were each arrested in possession of fake documents, including fraudulent invoices and forged official letters.
Operation Killer Bee is an operation led by the ASEAN Cybercrime Operations Desk, which is funded by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) 2.0 and supported by the Singapore Government.
Operational partners included Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.