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23 April 2024

Talking crime: Nigerian cyber-gang bust

Captain Nasser Salim Al Rekabi, Information Security Officer at the Directorate General of Security Support at Abu Dhabi Police addressing the conference. (Supplied)

By Staff

Security authorities in Los Angeles, California, hosted a local forum for US investigation and law enforcement authorities on Sunday, on cyber crimes (high technology crime offences).

An Emirati police delegation was invited to the forum, to share the efforts and mechanisms that were applied by the UAE Ministry of Interior in arresting the Nigerian gang of internet fraudsters recently.

Nigerians busted

Last July, the MoI had arrested a Nigerian gang of three people operating out of an apartment in Ajman, and targeted their victims, both individuals and institutions, in the United States of America.

Local authorities were alerted after receiving information from California security authorities about a cyber-criminal gang based in the UAE. The information did not include the identities of the hackers, nor the place of residence; hence a professional team was established in order to follow-up on the cyber data available, and to identify the hideout of the gang as soon as possible so as to prevent them from escaping.

The professional team included members from the Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Ajman police forces.

The joint international security cooperation with the UAE police leadership led to identifying the location of the gang in record time, which was subsequently raided after completing the necessary legal procedures.

The raid resulted in the arrest of B.A, age 24, the mastermind of the gang; G.A, age 26, a partner in the gang; and A.A., age 26, who entered the UAE on a tourist visa.

Outstanding professionalism

The participants lauded the outstanding professionalism and cooperation of the UAE team who managed to track down and identify the gang members, to locate their whereabouts, and to apprehend them swiftly.

The cyber criminal gang members had targeted their victims, both individuals and institutions, in the United States of America by hacking their accounts and emails to steal private documents and information to commit fraud.

In his speech to attendees, Captain Nasser Salim Al Rekabi, Information Security Officer at the Directorate General of Security Support at Abu Dhabi Police, stressed the commitment the of the UAE Ministry of Interior to adopt development and modernisation strategies in its quest to maintain security and promote global stability, especially in dealing with transnational crimes that require international effort and cooperation.

Captain Al Rekabi said: “We are delighted to be here today and for the chance to acquaint you with  the strenuous efforts carried out by the UAE’s Ministry of Interior to promote world peace and stability, and to fight organised or transnational crime.

“This stems from our firm belief that preserving security and safety is an effort that cannot be undertaken by one country or one entity; regardless of its capabilities and skills.”

Captain Al Rekabi continued: “The police institution in the UAE, just like our military counterparts, has realised the importance of cementing strong military alliances to combat and deter global threats; it was one of the leading entities that called for establishing the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) to protect children against online abuse and exploitation.

“It has hosted the VGT Conference in Abu Dhabi in 2012 and ultimately assumed the duties of chair of the VGT Board of Management and Secretariat.”

Captain Al Rekabi noted that the UAE police add new landmark achievements to their record in the field of security and the fight against transnational crime, by dealing strong and fatal blows to criminal gangs, and dismantling criminal networks around the world.

He said: “With the exciting developments in technology and information, cyber criminal groups are using technology to devise cunning new methods of theft in the form of cyber crimes. In light of this new threat, the UAE police leadership has dedicated special attention to this aspect, by qualifying and training staff members to deal with such novel criminal methods, and has established advanced laboratories and professional national cadres to undertake those duties.”

Captain Al Rekabi conveyed to the participants the promise of Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, that the UAE police shall remain “an impenetrable bulwark against crime and against criminals’ vicious goals, in their unrelenting quest to protect the innocent and achieve justice everywhere.”

Captain Al Rekabi praised the trust and cooperation of the Los Angeles security authorities that contributed to the arrest of the Nigerian cyber gang, which underestimated the capabilities of the UAE police by choosing to operate from the UAE.

The participants tackled important security topics related to the latest changing trends in cyber world, as well as the regional developments in cyber training, sharing information related to electronic threats, cyber crimes in e-shopping, cyber investigation, and more.

The forum was attended by a number of law enforcement officers, general prosecutors, security experts from the private sector, and companies’ representatives from the USA.