Nigerian princes are back -- now with the help of AI
Emails from supposedly wronged and robbed Nigerian nobility asking for help in exchange for a payout of millions were one of the very earliest email scams.
For a while 'Nigerian prince' emails, also known as '419 scams' in reference to part of the Nigerian Criminal Code relating to fraud, were a regular feature in most people's inboxes.
You would think that now everyone is aware of these that they'd have had their day, but new research from Abnormal Security has uncovered a new generation of attacks created with the aid of generative AI.
Abnormal has uncovered more than a thousand attacks targeting organizations using at least 70 unique email addresses. The subject lines read simply, 'GREETINGS' and in addition to wronged Nigerian royalty the messages also impersonate people from the United Nations, Ukraine, the Ivory Coast, Switzerland, the Central African Republic, and even the US.
The pitch for the latest attacks remains largely the same, unlocking substantial funds, although there's been a shift towards business rather than personal transactions in a twist to the usual 419 scam.
Because generative AI is involved many of the red flags that allowed you to easily spot earlier scams -- poor spelling, bad grammar -- are no longer present.
It's clear that cybercriminals are refining their tactics not just by improving the quality of the emails, but by changing the nature of the attacks too.
You can find out more about the latest attacks with examples of emails and advice on how to detect them on the Abnormal Security blog.