Microsoft has garnered itself some more good security headlines, this time for signing an agreement with the Nigerian Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to combat 419 scams also known as advance fee fraud.
The fact these are still growing has been discussed here before. Gullability and plausibility are the foundation of many crimes, so perhaps the flourishing popularity of 419s is not that surprising.
The MOU involves the EFCC getting its hands on Microsofts intelligence on such crimes originating in the country, plus some training and expert backup when amassing evidence.
It is not clear whether any money has changed hands, but you assume Microsoft must be getting something out of the bargain somewhere. Not that we doubt the company wants to fight fraud for its own sake, or course. It has an active anti-crime division, something that is still unusual in the computing industry.
Still, recent cases suggest that a growing number of 419 advance fee scams no longer originate in Nigeria regardless of whether they involve Nigerian nationals. They now appear to be based from other countries as often as not.
There could be many reasons for this. The fact that laws are getting tougher in Nigeria, not to mention the improving rate of detection arising from agreements such as this, must have something to do with it.
Pinning 419s down was never going to be as easy as shutting it down in one country. That was probably more of a coincidence of lenient policing and criminal motivation. As ever crimes evolution is to innovate technically from as many locations as possible.
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