Operation HAECHI-II, coordinated by Interpol and the Republic of Korea, arrested 1,000 individuals across 20 countries for a range of online criminal activities such as romance scams, fraud and money laundering.
Interpol confirmed today that Operation HAECHI-II saw a total of 1,003 individuals arrested, with nearly US$27 million and 2,350 bank accounts intercepted across 20 countries.
According to Interpol, the operation was in response to the growing risk of cyber-enabled financial crime, with the alleged perpetrators involved in an array of online scams such as romance scams, fraud and alleged money laundering through online gambling.
Throughout the operation, 10 new criminal modus operandi were identified.
Operation HAECHI-II is the first major global Interpol operation to tackle cyber-enabled financial crime which included the participation of Interpol member countries on every continent. The operation was supported by the Republic of Korea.
Throughout HAECHI-II, Interpol tested a new system to cancel payments, dubbed the Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP).
According to a release from Interpol, the mechanism proved successful.
“The results of Operation HAECHI-II show that the surge in online financial crime generated by the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of waning,” Interpol’s Secretary General Jürgen Stock explained.
“It also underlines the essential and unique role played by Interpol in assisting member countries combat a crime which is borderless by nature.
“Only through this level of global cooperation and coordination can national law enforcement effectively tackle what is a parallel cyber crime pandemic.”
The success of the HAECHI-II operation comes as governments around the world collaborated to force notorious hacking group REvil offline.
Writing in Cyber Security Connect, client services director at Tesserent Roger Spence demonstrated how international cooperation forced the hackers offline.
“The REvil group was recently hacked and forced offline by a coalition of governments. As a bonus, the government hackers recovered a universal decryption key that could reverse much of the damage done by this group,” Spence argued.
“Traditional law enforcement methods, built on catching someone after a crime has been committed, don't work in a connected world where the threat actors are in other countries and benefit from the anonymity of the digital world.”
[Related: Multinational operation takes down REvil]