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Nigerian Searches for Spam

More google insights fun. Here’s the list of the top google searches from Nigeria:

Note that five of the top ten searches are for a tool called email extractor lite 1.4, which is a tool that pulls emails from a block of text. In other words, it is useful for harvesting email addresses for spam. I won’t link to it for fear of google juicing it, but here’s a screen shot:

This agrees with the perception of Nigerian as the source of the ubiquitous Nigerian Scam spam, but it is surprising in that it seems to suggests that a very large proportion of Nigerian Internet users are involved in spam production. I’m having a hard time coming up with an alternative explanation of this finding. If some botnet were running email extraction on lots of Nigerian computers, it wouldn’t be bothering with a google search for the tool (and would in fact just be doing the email extraction itself). One possible explanation is that email harvesting is contracted out to individuals who are left on their own to troll the Internet for pages with email addresses. Constant searches for the email extractor page would be consistent with not very technical folks getting paid for finding and harvesting email addresses.

Also note on the results page that the top rising search currently is Oceanic Bank, which seems to be a legitimate Nigerian Bank. But the web page for the bank includes a bright red Scam Alert that warns of widespread use of impostor Oceanic Bank sites for Nigerian scams.

The Nigerian Searches for Spam by Hal Roberts, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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  1. [...] points out that one of the most popular searches in Nigeria is for “Email Extractor Lite 1.4″, a web-based tool designed to extract email addresses [...]