Nigeria Internet fraudsters target corporate email accounts

Nigeria Internet fraudsters target corporate email accounts

West Africa’s infamous internet scammers have evolved, dropping their impersonations of online love interests, princes and U.S. soldiers in favor of hijacking corporate emails.

This is costing businesses hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

It is a much more lucrative venture that works by gaining access to corporate email login details or passing off almost-identical addresses as the real deal.

The scam isknown as Business Email Compromise (BEC), according to a report by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike issued on Thursday.

These Nigerian rackets now dwarf other types of online criminal theft, amounting to at least $5.3 billion of losses between October 2013 and the end of 2016, said CrowdStrike and the U.S. FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

“There’s a disproportionate amount of criminal gains they get from it,” Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at California-based CrowdStrike, told Reuters.

“The lion’s share of ill-gotten, fraudulent money is around these business email compromise attacks. It’s a huge problem for our customer set,” he added.

Nigeria has become one of the hubs of BEC.

The online fraudsters, known as “Yahoo boys”, became notorious for trying to pass themselves off as people in financial need or Nigerian princes offering an outstanding return on an investment.

The capers became known as “419 scams” after the section of the national penal code that dealt – ineffectively – with fraud.

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