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Setback for the 419 industry


rconner
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8176014.stm

"Large parts of West Africa are struggling to get back online following damage to an undersea cable. The fault has caused severe problems in Benin, Togo, Niger and Nigeria. (...) Around 70% of Nigeria's bandwidth was cut, causing severe problems for its banking sector, government and mobile phone networks."

-- rick

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I do get quite a few 419s that come from the old country, the headers point to an African IP zone as the origin. It is likewise true that may come from the Nigerian diaspora throughout the world (I believe I've seen them from the U.S.).

I think the 419ers like to use freemail a lot, because not only is it free, you can also access it from any computer anywhere -- you don't need to own your own computer and internet connection, an unmanageable "capital investment" for most of these folks. As a bonus, there's a lot of inertia in big freemail operations that keeps the crooks from being shut down quickly (despite our best efforts to report them). Likely they don't attract as much attention at a Yahoo or Hotmail than they might if they used a small or medium size paid ISP.

-- rick

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I do get quite a few 419s that come from the old country, the headers point to an African IP zone as the origin. ...
That does appear to be the pattern of it, a consistent feature from 'the early days'. Hmmm ... talking of early days, this Douglas Cruickshank examination of 'the 419 as literature' indicates little has changed: http://dir.salon.com/story/people/feature/...cams/index.html They've not lost their whimsical turn of phrase and, then as now, there seem to be real Africans at the back of it.

Is it a coincidence?

Looking at the Spamcop stats, spam is down. ...

I see what you mean about the spam stats but it is way too early yet to be looking for statistical significance. And logically? I wouldn't think so. I've never noticed much from sub-Saharan Africa at all, apart from 419s and some trojan-dropper e-mails a while back. The broad sources of spam as they affect SC users can be pulled from http://www.spamcop.net/w3m?action=map;net=...35;sort=spamcnt and similar. I haven't been keeping track myself but networks from France, China, the Ukraine, Japan etc. are currently appearing which sounds about right. Israel, Turkey and Argentina should be in there somewhere. All the 'usual suspects'. But Nigeria was never in those numbers, I suspect. They just don't have the IT and communications infrastructure to be a player, not even to operate by 'remote control'. But time will tell for sure.
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Hi Farelf,

I've never noticed much from sub-Saharan Africa at all, apart from 419s and some trojan-dropper e-mails a while back........They just don't have the IT and communications infrastructure to be a player, not even to operate by 'remote control'. But time will tell for sure.

True enough, but it doesn't take a lot of infrastructure to be the message origination centre (not even the "NOC") for a major botnet.... just be in control of a few key relays and WHAMMO! A zillion computers at your "spammand".

Cheers!

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...it doesn't take a lot of infrastructure to be the message origination centre (not even the "NOC") for a major botnet.... just be in control of a few key relays and WHAMMO! A zillion computers at your "spammand".
Hi Geek - yes, all true. But the botherder probably needs to stay in close command or suffer a spot of 'rustling' - at least researchers have managed to subvert elements of loosely-controlled botnets IIUC. So, cable damage in Africa might show up as semi-permanent pattern changes in the broader reaches of the spamdom. But I don't think it all that likely somehow. Other regions/societies seem to have more of a record of spawning marauding international infotech infiltrators. A bit of a 'blip' in the cottage-industry 419 activity seems more likely to me, as a consequence of the African cable damage. Just conjecture.
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FWIW, I got the usual amount of 419 scams - not that I get a lot. I thought the reason that 419s get past filters is because they take the time to send them one by one.

Of the ones I am getting lately, many seem to come from compromised computers. I still find it hard to comprehend that they get enough suckers to bite to make it all worthwhile. Some are still using fax with contact email addresses.

Miss Betsy

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