Gold Rush

Estonia’s cyber-credentials are getting more impressive by the minute.

We’ve already witnessed such well-publicised (and usually self-publicised) things as their weathering a Russian cyber-storm relatively unscathed – which rather ironically helped them to subsequently open a NATO cybercrime HQ in Tallinn – and their involvement in the development of the Skype telephony service. Estonia has also pioneered e-governance and even some real-world stuff such as paying for your parking via SMS.

But E-stonia was in danger of becoming a bit of a goody-two-shoes in the modestly anarchic world of the internet. It’s the front runner in a race to host a new EU cyber-watchdog agency and it’s probably the only non-Scandinavian country (discuss!) whose politicians actually bother to update their blogs regularly once the image consultants who told them to do it in the first place have disappeared to bank their fees.

So it was with a sort of delicious disappointment that I opened my inbox this morning to discover my first ever piece of Estonian spam. I’d be interested to know if any Estonian geeks have returned from an international spam seminar in Nigeria recently, as the modus operandi was familiar to anyone who’s ever been contacted by the Boys From Lagos.

Purporting to be an epistle from a stereotypically-named woman in a fictional district of north-west London “here in England” it relates the tragic and unlikely tale of an American citizen who perished in an Alaskan plane crash.

Turns out I am the next of kin of dear departed Uncle Whassisname and therefore in line to inherit his 12 million buck bonanza. But almost in the same breath the supposedly respectable limey shysterette outrageously says she wants 40 per cent of my Klondike strike for writing me a letter in a language neither I nor 99.9 per cent of the world’s population would undertand at all without the intercession of Google Translate!

So I don’t think I’ll even bother to claim.


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