Rohan Pearce with a great summary of a recent paper from Microsoft’s Cormac Herley. Basically, they’re stupid because they want to target stupid people:
The question many people have asked themselves after receiving an email like this is: Who would fall for this crap? The persistence of the scam also raises another question: Can’t people come up with better worded, more creative forms of attack? Why, given the scam is relatively well known these days, would a scammer still purport from Nigeria or from another West African nation given the association of advance free fraud with the region?
In retrospect the answer to this question is obvious. According to Cormac Herley, principal researcher at Microsoft Research’s Machine Learning Department, it’s because scammers aren’t necessarily interested in seeming believable: They are looking for the most gullible victims they can find, to maximise return on their effort.
(via Rebecca Greenfield)