Posted by: David Harley | September 13, 2012

The Nigerian astronaut: still there after all these years

As I’ve referred many times to my favourite 419 scam (even more so than the James Bond scenario I described a couple of posts ago), concerning the repatriation of the Nigerian astronaut stranded on a secret Soviet space station since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, I’m overjoyed to see that it’s still alive and kicking. As is the astronaut, apparently, though there are a few logical flaws in the story.

Can it really be cheaper to keep sending him supplies per Progress than to send a Soyuz to bring him home? And can I really trust the calculation of his back-pay of $15m US when the scammer hasn’t noticed that he’s apparently been there at least 22 years, not 14?

Still, I wouldn’t want to understate the zero-gravity of the situation. On the other hand, from what I’ve heard of the current state of Lagos, I suspect that a few days back there would probably have Air Force Major Abacha Tunde begging to be sent back to the peace and quiet of a secret space station. Perhaps they’ll let him bring it back with him.

Hat tip to Rob Slade for the pointer.

David Harley
ESET Senior Research Fellow


  1. Thank you! I got this scam a couple of years ago and mentioned it in my blog. I’ve got a lesson to teach at school soon about internet security and thought it would be a brilliant example, but I couldn’t find the thing again. The link is much appreciated. Copied, pasted and ready to bemuse my S3 pupils 🙂

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