Three Nigerians have been arrested over their alleged involvement in a criminal scheme that is believed to have compromised thousands of government and private sector companies in more than 150 countries in the last three years.

The suspects, whose names are yet to be revealed were reportedly arrested following a joint operation of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL), Group-IB, a cybersecurity company and the Nigeria Police Force.

In a statement on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, INTERPOL said the three Nigerians were arrested after a year-long investigation dubbed “Operation Falcon”.

The statement reads, “The suspects are alleged to have developed phishing links, domains, and mass mailing campaigns in which they impersonated representatives of organizations. They then used these campaigns to disseminate 26 malware programmes, spyware and remote access tools, including AgentTesla, Loki, Azorult, Spartan and the nanocore and Remcos Remote Access Trojans.

“These programmes were used to infiltrate and monitor the systems of victim organizations and individuals, before launching scams and syphoning funds.

“According to Group-IB, the prolific gang is believed to have compromised government and private sector companies in more than 150 countries since 2017.”

Speaking on the arrest of the suspects, Craig Jones, INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Director said, “This group was running a well-established criminal business model. From infiltration to cashing in, they used a multitude of tools and techniques to generate maximum profits. We look forward to seeing additional results from this operation.”

In a separate statement on Wednesday, Group IB described the suspects a follows: “«OC» (32 y.o.), «IO» (34 y.o.), and «OI» (35 y.o.).”

The cybersecurity company said it has been tracking the suspects since 2019, adding that many members of the gang are still at large.

The statement reads, “The data discovered on the devices of the arrested TMT members has confirmed their involvement in the criminal scheme and identified stolen data from at least 50,000 targeted victims, according to Nigerian Police.

Group-IB has been tracking the gang since 2019 and established that around 500,000 government and private sector companies could have been compromised by TMT gang members.

“Based on the infrastructure that the attackers use and their techniques, Group-IB was also able to establish that the gang is divided into subgroups with a number of individuals still at large. The findings on other suspected gang members, whom Group-IB was able to track down, have been shared with INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Directorate. The investigation continues.

The company said the analysis of gang’s operations showed that they focus on mass email phishing campaigns distributing popular malware strains under the guise of purchasing orders, product inquiries, and even COVID-19 aid impersonating legitimate companies