Feeds

Hotmail files anti-spam lawsuit

What unemployed antitrust lawyers did next

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Microsoft has targeted spammers with a lawsuit aimed at bulk mailers who harvest email addresses of Hotmail subscribers in order to bombard them with junk.

The lawsuit, against unnamed defendants, was filed in the federal court for the northern district of California in San Jose yesterday, CNET reports.

In the suit, Microsoft alleges that unnamed bulk mailers used tools to randomly generate email addresses prior to testing this list out to see which accounts were active. Essentially this is a form of dictionary attack, which Microsoft argues violates federal laws including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Trespass is also involved in the attacks, the software giant argues.

Success in getting the suit through would strengthen Microsoft's hand if it came to sue particular spammers for using this type of attack in the future.

Earlier this week, Microsoft published an opinion piece calling for stronger legislative action against bulk mailing practices.

Last week lawyers Masons produced a study arguing that laws are often ineffective against spammers. Microsoft too recognises that legal actions alone aren't enough and that a multipronged approach - involved educating users and developing more sophisticated technology to eradicate spam - is needed.

Hotmail has come a long way from the days two years ago when it placed subscribers' email addresses on a public Internet directory site when they sign up for the service, making them easy prey for spammers (story here).

Microsoft's change of attitude is to be welcomed. After all there's no-one more zealous than a reformed sinner.

In September last year MSN signed a deal with Brightmail to help make sure fewer spam messages reached Hotmail In-boxes. ®

Related Stories

Spammers break law with covert tracking
Hotmail, Yahoo! erect roadblocks for spam sign-ons
MS addresses Hotmail spam blizzard. At last
Why Hotmail users get so much spam
Where the heck is all this spam coming from?
Plaid up in arms as Commons spam filter bans Welsh
Messenger Pop-up Spam makes us sick
Europe bans spam

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.