Interpol announced on Friday that an operation named HAECHI-II was successfully coordinated against cyber-criminal groups. The operation included law enforcement agencies from 20 different countries and took place over a period of four months, from June 2021 until September 2021. Interpol reported in its press release that over 1,000 arrests were made and more than $27 million (USD) was seized from criminal accounts. A total of 1,660 cases were closed by investigators and 2,350 bank accounts linked to cyber financial crime were blocked. The alleged crimes included a wide range of social engineering and financial crimes, including romance scams, investment fraud, and money laundering. The financial recovery effort was assisted by the testing of a new global stop-payment mechanism dubbed the Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP).
Social engineering attacks are a major component of cyber-crime. Since the start of the pandemic, the number and financial losses associated with such crimes have significantly increased. Due to work from home (WFH) and bring your own device (BYOD) policies, scams that affect individuals also create avenues into organizations’ secured infrastructure as well. Therefore, cyber security awareness, incentives for immediate reporting of suspicious or malicious cyber events, as well as technical and administrative controls are essential. Moreover, organizations cannot afford to assume a secure network perimeter in today’s threat environment and should focus on post-exploitation and defense-in-depth cyber security strategies in order to mitigate risks.’