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Dubai Police Thwart Cybercrime Syndicate in International Operation ‘Monopoly’

UAE Issues High-Risk Cyber Alert, Urges Residents to Update Microsoft

The Dubai Police have successfully dismantled an “international syndicate” of cybercriminals through a meticulously executed operation named ‘Monopoly.’ 

This criminal network had been orchestrating email hacking schemes, targeting businesses across various countries. 

The primary modus operandi involved infiltrating the email accounts of CEOs to deceive branch managers into transferring substantial sums of money.

Swift Apprehensions and International Collaboration:

In a swift operation, 43 suspects were apprehended within the UAE. 

Simultaneously, the Dubai Police identified the gang leader and 20 additional accomplices located outside the country, leading to the issuance of international arrest warrants. 

The success of ‘Operation Monopoly’ was further underscored by the collaboration between the Dubai Police and security agencies in France, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Tracing a $36 Million Trail:

The cybercriminals engaged in a sophisticated two-phase money transfer scheme, moving an estimated $36 million. 

Attempting to cover their tracks, the suspects navigated funds through multiple accounts before withdrawing them with the assistance of intermediaries. 

The ill-gotten gains were ultimately funneled into cash vaults belonging to money-holding and transport companies.

Operation Triggered by International Complaint:

The catalyst for ‘Operation Monopoly’ was a complaint lodged through the Dubai Police’s anti-cybercrime platform, e-crime.ae. 

A lawyer representing a company in an Asian country reported that the gang had hacked the CEO’s email, posed as the executive, and instructed the accounts manager to transfer approximately $19 million to a Dubai-based bank account.

Hacking Tactics and Target Demographics:

The cybercriminals demonstrated high sophistication, identifying potential victims through meticulous study of their electronic activities. 

Their primary targets were corporate executives, business professionals, and affluent individuals. 

The hackers exploited email vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access, facilitating large-scale financial fraud.

International Asset Seizures and Luxury Haul:

Upon apprehending the suspects, the Dubai Police not only thwarted their criminal activities but also seized luxury cars and expensive artworks. 

This represents a significant blow to the cybercrime syndicate and serves as a deterrent against future offenses.

Aiding Global Cybersecurity:

The success of ‘Operation Monopoly’ protects businesses in the UAE and contributes to global cybersecurity efforts. 

The collaborative approach with international security agencies highlights the necessity for transnational cooperation in combating cyber threats and financial crimes.

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