In the recent past, three of my friends have had their Yahoo! mail accounts cracked into by the bad boys of the cyberspace. The first victim, sometime in November 2007, was Noel Jambo who works for Bunda College of Agriculture, a constituent college of the University of Malawi. The guys who cracked into his account sent the following email to his contacts:

Hello,
I am sorry i didn’t inform you about my traveling to Africa for a program called Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Lack of Education, the program is taking place in three major countries in Africa which is Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria. It as been a very sad and bad moment for me, the present condition that i found myself is very intoxicated for me to explain.

I am really stranded in Nigeria because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport, documents and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying, I am in a very bad situation here because i have no money with me. I am now owing the Hotel where am staying the sum of $1550 and they wanted me to pay the bill soon or else they will seize my bag and hand me over to the Police, i need your help very urgent to enable me return back home successfully without any harm, I am in a terrible and tight situation here don’t even have money to feed myself for a day i had been starving so please understand how urgent i needed your help,i want you to help me with the sum of $3300 to sort out my problems here but if you are not too buoyant do not have all the $3300 i will also appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and i promise to reimburse the money to you once i get back home without hitch delay i have been to the high Commission and they promised me a new traveling Documents for my safe returning back home. look for a Western Union Money Transfer Local stores around you and send me the money to the receiving information below.

Receivers Name:Noel Jambo
Address: Ekko Hotel And Suites, Victoria island,
City: Lagos
Zip Code: 23401
Country: Nigeria

After you have sent the money email me the western union transfer details such as:

MTCN 10 digits(Money transfer control Numbers)
Test Question: To whom
Answer:Noel
Amount Sent…

Thanks in advance for your help while waiting to hear back from you with the transfer information.

Regards
Noel

When I received this email, I did not even bother to find out the whereabouts of Noel and how I could assist him because I knew that some Internet thieves were at work. How would Noel say he has travelled to Africa while he lives in Malawi which is in Africa? Before you start acting on requests such as these, I would like to advise you to Google some of the phrases in the email. In most cases, the links that you get on the first page of your search results will clearly show that it is the work of scammers.

The second victim was Chomora Mikeka just last month. The nature of the message that was sent out by his impersonators was very similar to Noel’s.The only difference was that in his case they purported him to be stranded in United Kingdom. But at that time, Chomora was in Yokohama busy with studies. The third victim, just two weeks ago, was Bola Oluyemi, a very good blogger friend of mine. A Chinese wholesaler (or their agent) impersonated her and sent out some adverts to her contacts.

These bad boys cannot crack into other people’s mail accounts like this without knowing their log in details.Therefore, these developments expose a security flaw in the Yahoo! mail system.The guys at Yahoo! must fix this problem as fast as they can otherwise an exodus to gmail is looming.