August 17, 2022

Thanks to an international Interpol operation, more than 1,000 people have been arrested for using fake investment apps or from ‘The Squid Game’ to scam. One of the most affected countries has been Colombia, but the network extended to 20 different countries, according to what has been discovered so far in an operation from which 27 million dollars have already been rescued.

These arrested cybercriminals used apps to steal money, according to Interpol. The modus operandi was like this: a fake ‘Squid Game’ app could install malware on the target device and hijack stored bank details on that device. Cybercriminals then used that data to make purchases.

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A Colombian company suffered the theft of 8 million dollars

Although this scam was localized in at least 20 countries, there is a prominent case in Colombia. A textile company suffered the theft of US $ 8 million through a sophisticated e-mail scam.

The cybercriminals, with bank details obtained thanks to these apps with Trojan malware, posed as the legal representative of the company and They gave the order to transfer more than 16 million dollars to two Chinese bank accounts. Eight million were even sent before the company itself discovered the fraud and alerted the Colombian authorities.

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Thanks to this, further investigation revealed the existence of a mobile application loaded with malware that used the name and brand of the Netflix series “Squid Game”. The application, posing as a product affiliated with the popular television series, it was actually a Trojan virus that, once downloaded, could hack into the user’s billing information and subscribe to paid “premium” services without their approval. Although it was detected in Colombia, the presence of this app was also detected in other countries.

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At least three years of operations

This international band is not new. At least they have carried out misdeeds of the type for three years, in which the forces of the state at the international level have been persecuting her. Now what they were doing was using the great fame of “The Squid Game”, a Netflix content that has had a huge worldwide boom.

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According to a statement from Interpol, the operation “HAECHI-II is the second operation in a three-year project to tackle financial cybercrime.” In this case, they had great support from South Korea, the country of origin of “The Squid Game” in an operation with “agents from all continents.”

In this operation, Interpol officials piloted a new global stop payments mechanism –the Rapid Response Protocol against Money Laundering (ARRP)– which was essential to intercept illicit funds in several cases of the HAECHI-II operation, according to official information.

It should be noted that taking advantage of the new ARRP network, international police cooperation channels could be activated between INTERPOL’s offices in Beijing, Bogotá and Hong Kong to freeze the funds transferred from the aforementioned Colombian textile company. Thanks to this new network, which streamlines police communication in cases of suspension of international payments, more than 94% of the money that could be returned was intercepted.

Thanks to this system, Interpol ensures that blocked a total of 2,350 linked bank accounts to online scams.