According to The HK Post, a Chinese person was apprehended in Tanzania for cyber fraud, raising questions about the global threat that Chinese cybercriminals pose.
The Chinese suspect was reportedly one of 11 people arrested in December for engaging in cybercrime, according to the Hong Kong-based tabloid. In violation of current Tanzanian telecommunications authority legislation, the Chinese national is said to have been caught sending unauthorised devices to connect people by phone to communicate abroad.
A massive amount of equipment, including 23 cell phones, 437 phone lines from various telecom service providers, six PCs, five SIM boxes, three routers, and one power bank, were recovered from the suspects.
According to The HK Post, eight other locals were also involved in the crime, including setting up social media accounts for propagating false information about Tanzanian President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan and other senior government officials.
The report further said the suspects were allegedly also posting fake and misleading information on online local television channels.
The report on cybercrime comes in Tanzania after a hackers’ group named “APT41” linked to the Chinese government and based out of Chengdu embezzled about USD 20 million from US Covid relief funds in December last year.
APT41, a hacker collective with ties to the Chinese government, is situated in Chengdu. According to a report released in December, further federal investigations into pandemic fraud also appear to link foreign state-affiliated hackers, according to NBC news, which cited the nation’s Secret Service.
According to Roy Dotson, the Secret Service’s national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator, “It would be ridiculous to suppose this gang didn’t target all 50 states.” The breadth of other investigations was not confirmed by the US Secret Service. APT41 is a prominent player in the over 1,000 active investigations into local and foreign criminal actors who steal public benefit programmes, according to the NBC report.