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INTERPOL sounds warning bells on crimeware-as-a service in Africa

By , Africa editor
Africa , 11 Apr 2023
According to the INTERPOL , some of the prominent cyber threats identified in Africa include business email compromise, phishing, and ransomware attacks.
According to the INTERPOL , some of the prominent cyber threats identified in Africa include business email compromise, phishing, and ransomware attacks.

A new INTERPOL report has sounded warning bells on Crimeware-as-a-Service (CaaS), saying it is becoming more popular in Africa, due to weak legal frameworks regarding cybercrime enforcement.

The ‘African Cyberthreat Assessment Report 2023’, says CaaS provides criminals with an easy way to conduct financially motivated attacks against vulnerable systems and businesses with minimal effort or technical knowledge.

CaaS refers to an organised business model that involves malware developers, hackers, and other threat actors selling or loaning out their hacking tools and services to people on the dark web.

With data drawn from INTERPOL’s member countries, private partners, and research conducted by the Africa Cybercrime Operations Desk, the 2023 report provides a comprehensive overview of cyber threat trends in the African region.

According to the report, some of the prominent cyber threats identified include business email compromise, phishing, ransomware attacks, banking trojans and stealers, online scams, and cyber extortion.

INTERPOL explains: “This modus operandi of the criminal underground has revolutionised the way cybercriminals operate, allowing them to easily access hard-to-find tools and services such as botnets, ransomware-as-a service, and DDoS attack resources. Furthermore, by shifting into an enterprise business model, these criminals have become better organised and are able to increase both their technical capabilities and their profit margins.

“By offering crimeware via a CaaS model, cybercriminals can now provide access to a wide range of malware variants at an affordable cost. The ease with which they can purchase or subscribe to such services, or even use them on a ‘pay-per-use’ basis, allows them to quickly deploy malware on a global scale without the need for any specialised technical knowledge.

“These services also enable attackers to stay anonymous, as most providers guarantee complete anonymity throughout the transaction process.”

It adds: “Cybercriminals have no limits in terms of sharing resources and know-how, which is in part what allows them to thrive. By the same token, binding ourselves closer together via the exchange of information and professional advice may be our best weapon in the combat against the frustrating threat of cybercrime.

“In order to reduce the global impact of cybercrime and protect communities for a safer world, agencies must stay abreast of these new trends and develop innovative means of responding to them. Doing this in a timely fashion will discourage possible criminal activity and dissuade potential perpetrators in advance.”

In curbing the growing challenge, INTERPOL says its Africa Cybercrime Operations

Desk will use this threat assessment as a basis to drive intelligence-led, coordinated action against cybercrime and its perpetrators in African member countries.

It says: “Collective efforts in sharing intelligence and formulating a joint operational framework will greatly bolster regional capabilities and capacity in the fight against cybercrime. 

"Cooperation between governments, law enforcement, private companies, and academic institutions is key to harnessing the most comprehensive data sets and resources available, which can then be used to develop more effective strategies to combat cybercrime.

“The effectiveness of such joint operations has already been seen in the recent African Cyber Surge Operation, coordinated by INTERPOL’s Cybercrime operations desk.”

Looking ahead, INTERPOL says it is committed to developing regional capabilities and empowering law enforcement agencies across the continent, if they are to successfully and efficiently investigate cases involving technology based crime.

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