International Police Arrest Head of Opera1er Cybercrime Gang

Cyber Security Threat Summary:
“International law enforcement agencies have announced the arrest of the leader of a cybercriminal syndicate called Opera1er, responsible for over 30 successful cyberattacks targeting financial institutions, banks, mobile banking services, and telecommunications companies. The group, also known as Desktop-Group and NXSMS, was involved in various scams, including malware, phishing, and business email compromise, resulting in an estimated $30 million in stolen funds. Interpol, along with AFRIPOL, Group-IB, Direction de L'information et des Traces Technologiques, and the Orange CERT Coordination Center, led the operation named Nervone. The arrest took place in early June in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali. Group-IB, who had been tracking the Opera1er group since 2018, provided crucial intelligence that helped identify the leader's identity and potential location. The attacks occurred between March 2018 and October 2022, targeting victims in countries such as Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria, Paraguay, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Togo, and Argentina. The group utilized off-the-shelf programs, freely available malware, and popular red-teaming frameworks like Metasploit and Cobalt Strike. Their attack techniques involved spear-phishing baits, with messages mostly written in French, impersonating tax office notifications or job offers” (BankInfoSecurity, 2023).

Security Officer Comments:
The arrest of the leader of the Opera1er cybercriminal group is a significant step in the fight against cybercrime. This operation, led by Interpol with support from other law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity organizations, shows a strong commitment to combating online threats. The group conducted over 30 successful attacks on financial institutions and telecom companies, stealing around $30 million. By capturing the mastermind, law enforcement disrupts the group's activities and sends a clear message to other cybercriminals. This achievement highlights the importance of international cooperation, protects financial institutions, helps recover stolen funds, and discourages future cybercriminals.