Kingpin of cybercrime syndicate arrested by Interpol in Lagos
EMERGENCY DIGEST- After an 11-month investigation, Interpol has arrested a 37-year-old Nigerian man alleged to be the leader of the global SilverTerrier transnational cybercrime syndicate.
The unnamed suspect was apprehended at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos by police operatives from the cybercrime unit.
Interpol said in a statement on Wednesday that the SilverTerrier arrest struck a major blow against the cybercrime group responsible for mass phishing attacks and business email compromise (BEC) scams aimed at stealing money from companies around the world.
The international law enforcement agency announced that the arrest was an international operation spanning four continents, coordinated and facilitated by its recently created Africa operations desk within Interpol’s cybercrime directorate.
Report had it that the suspect fled Nigeria in 2021 when authorities initially attempted to apprehend him. But, months later, in March 2022, he attempted to return home and was quickly identified and detained.
It was further gathered that Interpol is investigating leads suggesting that the suspected leader’s activity traces back to 2015 and that he has social media links to at least three other SilverTerrier suspects arrested in 2021.
It is also suspected that the group compromised more than 500,000 companies in more than 150 countries by 2020.
The unidentified suspect “is alleged to have run the transnational cybercrime syndicate that launched mass phishing campaigns and business email compromise schemes targeting companies and individual victims,” Interpol said.
It was learnt further that before leaving Nigeria, the SilverTerrier suspect tried to sell his Autobiography Special Edition Range Rover for 5.8 million Naira (around $14,000) on social media.
Interpol’s Africa Desk, called the African Joint Operation against Cybercrime (AFJOC) and funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, was launched in May 2021 to boost the capacity of 49 African countries to fight cybercrime.