by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – A PARTNERSHIP between the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and a global cyber security firm has dismantled a notorious phishing-as-a-service (PaaS) operation.
The partnership with Trend Micro Incorporated led to the arrest of the suspected administrator of 16shop and two other suspects in Indonesia and Japan.
In total, 16shop is estimated to have enabled phishing attacks on over 70 000 victims in 43 countries.
Trend Micro was first approached by INTERPOL in 2020 when the policing alliance requested threat intelligence regarding PaaS site 16shop.
The platform sold phishing kits designed to lower the barrier to entry to budding cybercriminals, enabling them to scale scam campaigns with ease.
“Trend has been a committed partner of INTERPOL for many years. So when the call came for help, we didn’t waste a second,” said Zaheer Ebrahim, Solutions Architect for Middle East and Africa at Trend.
He added, “As this takedown proves once again, public-private partnerships backed by powerful threat intelligence can be a force multiplier for international cybercrime investigations.”
Through its research, Trend found and reported to INTERPOL that attacks supported by 16shop were particularly prevalent in Japan, as well as the United States and Germany.
Customers of 16shop were able to craft phishing pages to harvest Amazon, American Express, PayPal, Apple, and CashApp credentials as well as US banking logins.
The site was active from 2018 until at least 2021, with copycat sites most likely springing up after this date.
Trend’s close support of INTERPOL in this operation follows some previous engagements, including 2022’s Operation African Surge when law enforcement officials from 27 INTERPOL countries joined forces to counter cyber crime across the continent.
Some 11 individuals were arrested, with one suspect linked to the abuse of children, and ten others linked to scam and fraud activities worth US$800 000 which had an impact on victims globally.
– CAJ News