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Nigeria, Microsoft look to halt Internet crime

Nigeria's anti-corruption police is working with Microsoft to halt thousands of fraudulent emails in a crackdown on internet crime in Africa's most populous country, an agency spokesman said.
/ Source: Reuters

Nigeria's anti-corruption police is working with Microsoft to halt thousands of fraudulent emails in a crackdown on internet crime in Africa's most populous country, an agency spokesman said.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said on Thursday its new project "Eagle Claw," expected to become fully operational within six months, is aimed at improving Nigeria's tarnished image as one of the world's top countries for internet crime.

"The EFCC is fine tuning security modalities with Microsoft and upon full deployment, the capacity to take down fraudulent emails will increase to 5,000 monthly," said Farida Waziri, the agency's chairwoman, in a statement. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The agency said it has already shut down 800 scam websites and arrested 18 people.

The project is the latest effort by the government to shrug off its image as an epicenter of corruption, epitomized by "419" email fraudsters named after the article in Nigeria's penal code that deals with advance fee fraud.

The government in March launched a rebranding campaign with the slogan: "Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation." It has also started a nationwide initiative to promote "Made In Nigeria" products over foreign imports.

But Nigerians, most of whom live on less than $2 a day, say the government needs to do more to address the everyday problems of the oil-rich, but impoverished country.