Image: Interpol
Image: Interpol

International police arrest 14 in ‘Africa Cyber Surge’ operation

A four-month international crime-fighting operation in Africa resulted in 14 arrests and the removal of infrastructure used by cybercriminals across the continent.

The “Africa Cyber Surge Operation II” was carried out by Interpol, Afripol and cybersecurity firms Group-IB and Uppsala Security, which provided on-the-ground support.

In a release on Friday, Interpol outlined the operation’s achievements, which included the arrest of three people in Cameroon suspected of participating in an online scam involving fraudulent art sales worth $850,000. Two darknet sites were also taken down in Cameroon.

In the tiny West African nation of Gambia, "185 internet protocols connected to malicious activities" were removed, and in Kenya 615 malware hosters were taken down.

On the island of Mauritius, authorities arrested two money mules allegedly connecting to scams on messaging platforms.

According to Interpol, the operation resulted in the identification of more than 20,000 “suspicious cyber networks” linked to more than $40 million in losses.

Much of the operation, which spanned 25 countries on the continent, was bolstered by information-sharing, with Group-IB, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, and Coinbase all relaying intelligence to law enforcement agencies. In all, more than 3,700 command-and-control servers used for malicious activities, 939 malicious IP addresses and 1,415 phishing links and domains were identified.

“Coordinated operations such as Cyber Surge are necessary to disrupt criminal networks and build individual, organizational and society-wide levels of protection,” said Afripol Acting Executive Director Jalel Chelba.

The operation follows a similar initiative carried out in 2022, which resulted in the arrest of 10 suspected cybercriminals, the removal of an Eritrean dark web platform selling hacking tools, and the takedown of about 200,000 pieces of malicious infrastructure.

Earlier this month, Interpol announced a crackdown on West African organized crime groups like Black Axe, resulting in more than 100 arrests, the seizure of more than 200 bank accounts connected with online crimes and the seizure of about $2.3 million. That operation involved 21 countries around the world.

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James Reddick

James Reddick

has worked as a journalist around the world, including in Lebanon and in Cambodia, where he was Deputy Managing Editor of The Phnom Penh Post. He is also a radio and podcast producer for outlets like Snap Judgment.