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Alleged Cybercrime Ringleader Arrested in Nigeria

An unnamed Nigerian man has been arrested over his alleged role leading a cybercrime group that specialized in phishing and business email compromise (BEC).

The arrest, announced on Wednesday by Interpol, is the result of an international operation involving law enforcement and several cybersecurity companies.

In December 2021, Nigerian police arrested 11 people believed to be involved in BEC schemes. They were allegedly part of an activity cluster tracked as SilverTerrier, which has been active since at least 2014 and which is composed of hundreds of threat actors involved in BEC attacks.

SilverTerrier hackers are said to have targeted tens of thousands of companies and individuals worldwide with fake emails designed to trick them into wiring money to bank accounts they controlled.

The 37-year-old whose arrest was announced this week fled Nigeria last year, before authorities could apprehend him, but he was detained in March 2022 while attempting to enter Nigeria, according to Palo Alto Networks, one of the cybersecurity firms involved in the investigation into SilverTerrier activity.

Palo Alto Networks said in a blog post published on Wednesday that this individual’s alias has been used to register more than 240 domains, including 50 that were used for malware command and control. The company noted that he shares social media connections with several of the people arrested last year, and he appears “well connected” with other known BEC actors.

Since many BEC scammers have targeted companies in the United States, some of them have been prosecuted here. Two Nigerians were sentenced to a combined 22 years in November 2021 for their roles in BEC operations. They were also ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution.

Related: Nigerian Arrested in US for Hacking Payroll Services Company

Related: Nigerian Admits in US Court to Hacking Payroll Company

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.