April 29, 2024

INTERPOL identifies 20, 674 suspicious networks linked to terrorists, money laundering, others in 25 African countries


**Rise in Cyber Criminality Posing Challenges to Law Enforcement Agencies – IGP Egbetokun

By: Kingsley Omonobi

The International Police Organization, INTERPOL said on Monday, that consequent upon the development of the Africa Threat Assessments on Cyber crimes in 2022, 2023, and its upcoming 2024 report, it’s ‘Operation Africa Cyber Surge II’ across 25 African countries has enabled investigators to arrest 14 suspected cybercriminals while identifying 20,674 suspicious cyber networks:

This is just as the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun warned that Cyber Criminality is becoming a pervasive and evolving threat, affecting individuals, businesses, and governments alike noting that, “The rise of cybercriminal activities poses significant challenges to our law enforcement agencies, requiring law enforcement agencies to adapt swiftly and collaboratively to effectively combat these threats”.

The Director, Directorate of Cyber Crimes at INTERPOL, Mr. Craig Jones made this known at the 10th Africa Working Group Meeting on Cyber Crimes for Heads of Units of member countries which kicked off in Abuja on Monday

He said, “In 2024 our priority crime areas will be the criminal tools and infrastructures that facilitate cybercrime; attacks on ICT networks, intrusions, the malicious activities carried out on a digital network, the deployment of malicious payloads including ransonware, banking Trojans, spyware, the exfitration of sensitive data or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

“This will also include the phishing attacks and the technology and technical exploitation used in Business Email Compromise. We will further prioritize INTERPOL role in Africa: with our regional approach that offers tailored support through the Africa Joint Cybercrime Operations Desk (AFJOC), funded by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

The INTERPOL Director added, “We have increased capabilities, delivered tools, platforms, frameworks that are essential to ensure there is a cohesive response to cybercrime.

“The regional approach has proven to be effective and delivered many results so far including publication of the first Joint Operational Framework for Improving Coordinated Action against Cybercrime in the Africa Region, enhanced and optimized the use of INTERPOL’s Cyber Collaborative Platform for sharing operational and actionable data and information which is crucial as cybercrime units are often not within the NCBs, therefore the use of I-24/7 needs to be complemented via the CCP.

“The Africa Knowledge Exchange Workspace, with points of contact from respective cybercrime units connected to the Virtual Collaboration Platform, has been set up. This initiative allows collaborating and sharing non-operations related information.

“A prime illustration of this is Operation Africa Cyber Surge II across 25 African countries that enabled investigators to arrest 14 suspected cybercriminals and identifying 20,674 suspicious cyber networks:

He pointed out that the development of the INTERPOL Gateway (Group-IB, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, and Coinbase) and World Economic Forum’s Cybercrime Atlas partners are providing essential information that is crucial for the operation’s success

In his remarks, IGP Egbetokun who was represented by DIG Ede Ayuba, the DIG in charge of Operations at Force headquarters said, “The Nigeria Police Force has recorded a significant milestone in the fight against cybercrime through the establishment of the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Center (NPF-NCCC) and the construction of a world class Cybercrime Fusion Center equipped with the most modern state of the art forensic facilities”.

“We have equally invested largely in capacity building and development of expertise in cybercrime investigation with the largest collection of globally certified cyber security experts and investigator in Sub-Sahara Africa.

“The Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Center has been deeply involved in the global fight against cybercrime through robust collaboration with both national and international partners leading to groundbreaking successes.

“We have successfully dismantled several notorious and hitherto evasive cybercrime syndicates and malicious networks in joint operations with INTERPOL Cybercrime Directorate, the FBI and other partners.

“Cybercrime is a global menace that requires the synergy of the entire global law enforcement community as no nation can do it alone.

“While assuring you of our willingness to deepen the relationship with our partners, I encourage you to leverage the inherent capabilities and resources of the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Center in our joint effort to effectively combat the evolving Cybercrime trend.

He commended “the efforts of all participating countries in prioritizing cyber security and fostering partnerships to address this global challenge” saying, “Together, we can leverage our collective expertise and resources to enhance our capabilities in investigating and preventing cybercrimes, safeguarding our digital infrastructure, and upholding the rule of law”.

Vice President of INTERPOL Africa, AIG Garba Umar (rtd) disclosed that 54 African countries were participating in the Working Group meeting noting that issues of tracking, arresting suspects who escape from one country to another to cheat criminal prosecution as well as extraditing such suspects among others would also be discussed.