INTERPOL Arrests 31 in Global Operation, Identifies 1,900+ Ransomware-Linked IPs

INTERPOL Arrests 31 in Global Operation, Identifies 1,900+ Ransomware-Linked IPs

An INTERPOL-led collaborative operation targeting phishing, banking malware, and ransomware attacks has led to the identification of 1,300 suspicious IP addresses and URLs.

The law enforcement effort, codenamed Synergia, took place between September and November 2023 in an attempt to blunt the “growth, escalation and professionalization of transnational cybercrime.”

Involving 60 law enforcement agencies spanning 55 member countries, the exercise paved the way for the detection of more than 1,300 malicious servers, 70% of which have already been taken down in Europe. Hong Kong and Singapore authorities took down 153 and 86 servers, respectively.

The development arrives more than a month after another six-month-long international police operation dubbed HAECHI-IV resulted in the arrests of nearly 3,500 individuals and seizures worth $300 million across 34 countries.

“More than 100 Brazilians had been promised cryptocurrency jobs through social media ads offering generous wages, productivity bonuses, food, and lodging,” INTERPOL said. “Once they arrived, however, they were held against their will and forced to carry out online investment scams.”

INTERPOL has been keeping a close watch on human trafficking-fuelled fraud, where victims are tricked through fake job ads to online scam centers and forced to commit cyber-enabled financial crime on an industrial scale. Tens of thousands are estimated to have been trafficked in Southeast Asia to conduct such scams.

INTERPOL said it further received reports from Ugandan law enforcement about numerous citizens taken to Dubai under the pretext of giving them jobs and diverting them to countries like Thailand and then Myanmar. “There, the victims were handed over to an online fraud syndicate and kept under armed guard while being taught to defraud banks,” it said.