Feeds

Microsoft unleashes legal attack dogs on spammers

Teams up with NY

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Microsoft is to hold a press conference today in New York with Eliot Spitzer, the state's attorney general, to promote a joint crackdown against spam.

Reuters, which heralds the news conference, has no specific details, but considering that Spitzer, the scourge of Wall Street is involved, it is reasonably safe to infer that the duo are seeking to hunt down and prosecute the bulk spammers.

To date, Earthlink, the leading US ISP, has been the most vigorous organisation in the courts against individual spammers. But US legal authorities are getting more interested lately, too. Last week, the state of Virginia indicted two men, one an alleged "spam kingpin" under felony - i.e. criminal - charges. The two face fines and prison if convicted.

Microsoft has also been busy this year on the anti-spam front. In June, chairman Bill Gates issued a clarion call to fight spam. He outlined a three-pronged strategy: to build spam filters within Microsoft email clients, to work with the likes of AOL and Earthlink to improve spam filters at the email server level; and to pursue spammers through the courts.

The company has cleaned up its own act, introducing anti-spam filters to MSN Hotmail, once notorious for the stream of porn and viagra come-ons, but now a much cleaner spam-free-ish experience, users report.

In June this year, Microsoft launched 15 civil suits in the US and the UK against alleged spammers (one Liverpudlian, it turned out, was wrongly included. Microsoft later apologised).

According to SpamHaus, the anti-spam outfit, around 200 people, the vast majority American, are responsible for 90 per cent of the world's spam. This year, by some estimates spam has accounted for half the world's email, creating nice opportunities for email filter software firms, and irritation and headaches to consumers, businesses and ISPs.

Fraudsters are increasingly using spam to ensnare unwitting victims, the credit card phishing expeditions and 419-type advance fee fraud. Also, spammers are increasingly using Trojans to turn victims' PCs into zombies. These are used to pump out even more spam, or DDOS attacks against anti-spam operations. SoBig-F, responsible for 2003's worst virus outbreak, is said to have used the virus for this purpose. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.