Interpol has coordinated an international operation, code-named Operation HAEICHI-II, that led to the arrest of 1,003 individuals linked to various cyber-crimes such as romance scams, investment frauds, online money laundering, and illegal online gambling. The INTERPOL published more than 20 notices were published based on information relating to Operation HAECHI-II and identified 10 new fraudulent schemes.
The law enforcement operation involve police from twenty countries ( Angola, Brunei, Cambodia, Colombia, China, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Korea (Rep. of), Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam) between June and September 2021.
The Interpol also involved the use of a new global stop-payment mechanism, the Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP), which was designed to intercept illicit funds.
The authorities blocked 2,350 bank accounts linked to the illicit proceeds of online financial crime and intercepted over 27 million dollars.
“The results of Operation HAECHI-II show that the surge in online financial crime generated by the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of waning,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock. “It also underlines the essential and unique role played by INTERPOL in assisting member countries combat a crime which is borderless by nature.
“Only through this level of global cooperation and coordination can national law enforcement effectively tackle what is a parallel cybercrime pandemic,” added Secretary General Stock.
The announcement cited a case in Colombia, when a prominent textiles company was defrauded of more than USD 8 million through a sophisticated business email compromise (BEC) scam. The threat actors impersonated the legal representative of the company and ordered to transfer more than USD 16 million to two Chinese bank accounts. The company discovered the fraudulent activity after half of the money was transferred, then alerted local authorities..
Thanks to the use of the ARRP network and the international police cooperation over 94 percent of the money was intercepted in record time.
Interpol also warned of the use of the ‘Squid Game’ as bait in malware campaigns.
“One Purple Notice requested by Colombia during the operation details a malware-laden mobile application using the name and branding of the Netflix show ‘Squid Game’. Masquerading as a product affiliated with the popular television series, the app was in fact a Trojan horse virus that, once downloaded, was able to hack the user’s billing information and subscribe to paid ‘premium’ services without the user’s explicit approval. While flagged in Colombia, the app has also targeted users in other countries.” concludes the announcement.
(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Operation HAEICHI-II)