Nigerian Authorities Arrest 11 Members of Prolific BEC Fraud Group


Nigerian authorities have arrested 11 individuals believed to be members of the business email compromise (BEC) crime ring tracked as SilverTerrier.

The 11 suspects were arrested as part of a 10-day operation (December 13-22, 2021) in which the Nigerian Police collaborated with Interpol and private security firms Palo Alto Networks and Group-IB.

The individuals are believed to be collectively involved in BEC attacks targeting more than 50,000 victims. On the laptop of one of the suspects, authorities found more than 800,000 potential victim domain credentials, Interpol says.

[ READ: Three Nigerians Arrested for Cybercrime Operation Targeting 150 Countries ]

Another suspect was observed monitoring conversations that 16 companies had with their clients and diverting funds whenever transactions were to be made, while a third is believed to have been involved in BEC attacks across West African countries such as Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria.

Also referred to as the TMT BEC gang, SilverTerrier has been active since 2014, compromising thousands of organizations worldwide and gathering numerous factions under its umbrella.

In 2019, 480 threat actors were linked to SilverTerrier attacks and the group was observed launching up to 245,637 BEC attacks per month, hitting organizations across many sectors.

A rather effective scheme, BEC fraud incurred losses of more than $1.8 billion in 2020 and of over $1.7 billion in 2019, and the SilverTerrier fraudsters are believed to be responsible for much of these losses.

The arrests were made as part of Operation Falcon II, which follows the November 2020 arrest of three Nigerian nationals believed to be SilverTerrier members. The group is estimated to have compromised “500,000 government and private sector companies by that time,” Group-IB says.

Related: Two Nigerians Sentenced to Prison in U.S. for Role in BEC Scams

Related: Nigerian Man Living in U.S. Charged Over Role in BEC Scheme

Related: Atlanta Man Charged for Role in BEC Fraud Scheme

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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