Timeframe: 2021 to 2023
Budget: GBP 2.9 million
Donor: United Kingdom - Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (UK FCDO)
The rapid development of new technologies is opening up new opportunities in the African Region. Currently, Africa has the fastest growing Internet and telephone networks in the world, and makes wide use of mobile banking services.
However, this rapid digitalization has made the region a target for cyberattacks. Criminals exploit the increased use of smartphones to steal personal data and carry out fraudulent schemes. The biggest cyber threats in Africa include digital extortion, ransomware, online scams (such as phishing) and business email compromise.
The lack of cybersecurity standards exposes online services to major risks. Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure including banks and government institutions have serious implications, resulting in security risks, huge financial loss and disruptions in trade.
The AFJOC project strengthens the capability of national law enforcement agencies to prevent, detect, investigate and disrupt cybercrime. This is achieved by:
- gathering and analysing information on cybercriminal activity;
- carrying out intelligence-led, coordinated action;
- promoting cooperation and best practice amongst African member countries.
- Analytical support and intelligence – timely and accurate intelligence is vital in any effective law enforcement response to cybercrime. Our Cyber Activity Reports are important resources, providing insight on cyber threats targeting specific countries or regions;
- Developing regional capacity and capabilities to combat cybercrime – collaborative platforms such as the Cybercrime Collaborative Platform and Cyber Fusion Platform allow for secure communications and exchange of data on operations;
- Joint Operational Framework – this addresses cybercrime threats through collaboration between law-enforcement agencies, private sector and other international/intergovernmental organizations;
- Operational support and coordination – our operations help dismantle the criminal networks behind cybercrime;
- Awareness-raising campaigns – promoting good cyber practices for individuals and businesses in Africa.
Our African Cybercrime Operations Desk is responsible for implementing AFJOC. It works in close partnership with key regional stakeholders, in particular the African Union and AFRIPOL, law enforcement communities and the private sector.
African Cyberthreat Assessment Report - 2022
As African countries move to incorporate digital infrastructure into all aspects of society – including government, business and banking, it is vital to promote a strong cybersecurity framework.
Our annual reports help countries in Africa to understand the most prevalent threats and formulate a coordinated regional response to cybercrime. The African Cyberthreat Assessment Report was produced as a result of cross-sector collaboration between key regional stakeholders as well as law enforcement agencies and the private sector.
November 2022-January 2023
This operation targeted criminal groups behind romance scams and Business Email Compromise within the West African region.
Close cooperation between our Regional African Desk, private sector partners and national authorities in Finland, Switzerland, Cote d’Ivoire and Benin was essential in successfully detecting and disrupting cybercrime.
Cybercrime investigation also resulted in the arrest of three suspects in Cote d’ Ivoire and Benin as well as the seizure of digital and mobile devices.
July – November 2022
Africa Cyber Surge Operation
Law enforcement officials helped fight cybercrime through coordinated action, utilizing INTERPOL platforms, tools and channels. Participating countries were able to improve their own national cyber security by securing vulnerable critical infrastructure.
During this operation, officials took action to remove malicious infrastructure linked to botnet activity, and the dissemination of mass phishing, spam and online extortion activities (e.g. romance scams, banking scams and theft of data).
Operation Falcon II
We supported the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) to combat major cybercrime threats such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), invoice scams and mass phishing campaigns. Private sector partners also provided key technical expertise and consultancy to help police authorities prevent and investigate attacks.
Our #YouMayBeNext campaign focused on digital extortion threats including ransomware, sextortion and Distributed Denial-of-Services (DDoS). The campaign offered tips to ensure that individuals and businesses are better equipped with the knowledge to safeguard their systems, networks and devices.
We supported national police authorities to arrest a Nigerian man in this international operation, spanning four continents. The suspect was alleged to have run a transnational cybercrime syndicate that launched mass phishing campaign and business email compromise schemes targeting companies and individual victims.
This campaign focused on online scams and phishing, ransomware and Business Email Compromise. Basic cyber hygiene advice was provided throughout the campaign, to ensure that individuals and businesses are equipped with the knowledge of how to protect their systems and data.