Microsoft 'lends security expertise' to Nigeria

Microsoft 'lends security expertise' to Nigeria

Summary: No-one knows more about security than we do, says Microsoft's European president

TOPICS: Security
Microsoft is to work with the Nigerian government to help tackle the problem of 419 email scams and other cybercrime originating from the African country.

Neil Holloway, the president of Microsoft for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the company will lend its "time, technology and resources" to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian organisation that tackles cybercrime.

Holloway told ZDNet UK that Microsoft is well-place to offer this advice as "there's no other commercial organisation that knows more about security from a technology perspective."
Nuhu Ribadu, the executive chairman of the EFCC, said in a speech at the Nigerian Embassy on Friday that it is essential to tackle the problem of email scams to improve Nigeria's reputation in the worldwide community.

"Millions of people all over the world can only link the country and her nationals to the infamous scam letter. Yet, only a tiny fraction of Nigerians through criminal abuse of technology gave rise to what we today know as '419' and other Nigerian variants of cybercrime, which have done unquantifiable damage to our country's image and credibility," said Ribadu in his speech.

The term 419 comes from the part of the Nigerian criminal code that relates to fraud. It begins with a message offering the recipient a very large sum of money in return for helping to move an even larger amount of cash out of a foreign bank account.

Anyone who expresses an interest is then told that they must first hand over a substantial amount of money to cover expenses such as banking fees and administrative costs.

Ribadu admitted that Nigeria has been slow to tackle the problem of scammers, but claimed that the country now accepts the gravity of the problem.

"Unfortunately we did not do anything for a long time. The problem dates back as far as the 80s and for close to seventeen or eighteen years it became normal, a way of life. In the last few years things have changed, especially with the establishment of the EFCC," said Ribadu.

The EFCC has recovered over $1bn from fraudsters, a "lot of it" from 419 related offences, Ribadu told ZDNet UK. At the moment it is pursuing around 50 legal cases against Internet scammers.

The organisation recently carried out a study in Lagos and found that up to 1000 people were involved in email fraud in the city, with the majority of it being carried out from Internet cafes. "The average number of scammers in every cybercafe is 20," said Ribadu.

EFCC is now turning its attention on Internet cafes, with the help of new legislation that allows the prosecution of anyone that helps scammers, including Internet cafe owners and ISPs.

To promote the campaign, Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has created a series of posters:

Topic: Security

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  • Microsoft certainly has the track record to proof they understand security alright. Question is, at what end?
  • Then maybe they should first of all offer their expertise to another part of their own 'evil' empire. Over the last month, I have been receiving 419 emails from a succession of Hotmail customers, which I have dutifully complained to Hotmail about. However, the individuals and the automated response system at Hotmail do not appear to understand how to read internet mail headers, claiming that forged headers inserted by the spammers prove that the email actually originated from a source other than Hotmail.
  • How much of this is really just to fight F/OSS? Nigeria has been on of the leading African nations in the use of Free and Open Source technologies. "Security" has been a weak veil to cover attacks against competitors or even bad reviews, and MS has not been alone in abusing the moniker, but perhaps it has been among the more frequent.
  • "No-one knows more about security than we do, says Microsoft's European president."

    WHAT A JOKE!!!!! MS knows more about the LACK of security than anyone in the world. They can't even secure their own products, so who is going to believe they can help anyone else? Nigeria wouldn't have to look much farther to find some real help.
  • "No-one knows more about security than we do"
    Now that realy IS taking the P*ss!
  • Given that Microsoft states that Africa doesn't need free software. How much would they be charging for their lending security expertise? Or would that be included in the software purchase? If so, I purchased some software as well and I'm still awaiting security expertise that, 1, works, 2, lasts.

    Strangely enough, I've got some other software that's doesn't come with security expertise either. It's, 1, free, 2, works, 3, lasts.
  • wich category you fit in : people who want to succeed but struggles with dicipline, successfull people but struggles with dicipline or very diciplined people but struggles to succeed. Tell me what is on your mind.