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Interpol crackdown on cyber-enabled financial crime


In an operation coordinated by the Interpol, enforcement agencies in more than 20 countries have arrested over 1,000 individuals and intercepted about $27 million of illicit funds as part of a crackdown on cyber-enabled financial crime. India was one of the participants.


GS-II: International Relations, GS-III: Internal Security Challenges (Various Agencies and other interventions regarding Internal Security and their mandate)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Cyber-enabled financial crime
  2. About operation ‘HAECHI-II’
  3. About the other Global Efforts to Prevent Cyber-enabled financial crime
  4. About Interpol

About Cyber-enabled financial crime

  • With the tremendous increase in the use of Internet and Mobile banking, Mobile Wallet, Internet banking, e-commerce, Online share trading, there has been a corresponding growth in the incidents of financial frauds.
  • Ransomware, extortion scams, identity theft, money laundering, and other financial crimes are examples of cyber-enabled financial crime.

Threats from cyber-enabled financial crime

  • Social engineering (e.g. phishing email) might be used to launch a cyber-enabled financial assault from the outside.
  • Insider threats – criminally motivated workers attempting to obtain access to cash – are also a concern.
  • The following are the four most prevalent components of these attacks:
    1. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) smokescreens: Coordinated denial of service attacks on financial institutions are common, and they often appear to be aimed solely to impair the usage of online banking assets.
    2. Transactional based network penetration: When the financial institution’s systems are breached to begin or facilitate transactions from within the financial institution, one of the developing cyber enabled fraud assaults happens.
    3. Data theft based network penetration: Hackers continue to try to hack into processor and other financial institution systems in order to obtain client data such as account numbers, card numbers, and other personal identifiers.
    4. Conventional remote banking fraud: The latest wave of cyberattacks is notable for combining any or all of the above-mentioned attacks with traditional internet, mobile, phone payment, and card attacks.

About operation ‘HAECHI-II’

  • The operation codenamed ‘HAECHI-II’ was conducted by INTERPOL saw police arrest more than 1,000 individuals underlining the global threat of cyber-enabled financial crime.
  • Specialised police units from 20 countries, including Hong Kong and Macau, took part in the exercise to target specific types of online fraud, such as “romance” scams.
  • It is the second such operation in a three-year project launched to tackle cyber-enabled financial crime.

About the other Global Efforts to Prevent Cyber-enabled financial crime

Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP)

  • The Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP) has been vital to effectively intercepting illegal payments in various HAECHI-II situations.
  • The findings revealed that the increase in crimes caused by the COVID-19 epidemic had not subsided.

Purple Notices from Interpol

  • Based on the findings during the operation, the Interpol published multiple Purple Notices — police alerts that seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.
  • The notices are shared with the member countries to enable exchange of information on emerging criminal methods and establish links between cases.

About Interpol

  • The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO), commonly known as INTERPOL, is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.
  • Headquartered in Lyon, it has seven regional bureaus worldwide and a National Central Bureau in all 194 member states, making it the world’s largest police organization.
  • INTERPOL provides investigative support, expertise, and training to law enforcement worldwide, focusing on three major areas of transnational crime: terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime.
  • Its broad mandate covers virtually every kind of crime, including crimes against humanity, child pornography, drug trafficking and production, political corruption, copyright infringement, and white-collar crime.
  • The agency also facilitates co-operation among national law enforcement institutions through criminal databases and communications networks.
  • Contrary to popular belief, INTERPOL is itself not a law enforcement agency.
  • INTERPOL is mostly funded by annual contributions by member police forces in 181 countries.
  • It is governed by a General Assembly, composed of all member countries, which elects the Executive Committee and the President.
  • Pursuant to its charter, INTERPOL seeks to remain politically neutral in fulfilling its mandate, as it is barred from interventions or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial nature or involving itself in disputes over such matters.
  • The agency operates in four languages: Arabic, English, French, and Spanish.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the nodal agency in the INTERPOL for India.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023