Feeds

MS sues 200 for spamming

Trawling for names

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Microsoft has filed eight lawsuits in the US against nearly 200 accused spammers, saying that the defendants had used false information to conceal themselves, and had deceived consumers. Each of the lawsuits "names" at least 20 unidentified defendants, as well as one John Hites, identified by anti-spam campaigners at Spamhaus as one of the world's ten most prolific spammers.

Microsoft is seeking injunctions against each defendant, using the CAN-Spam act, and could be awarded up to $1m per spammer in civil fines. THe company said it hopes to unmask the anonymous spammers through the legal discovery process.

Microsoft filed its first suits against unsolicited mailers in June last year (2003), and is now involved in more than 80 such cases around the world. So far, its legal actions have resulted in four settlements, two defendants being declared bankrupt and five judgments for Microsoft.

"We're raising the stakes, we're making it more expensive for spammers," Tim Cranton, a senior lawyer at Microsoft said. "A lot of the established spammers are realizing that it's much harder to operate."

Although any efforts made in the fight against spammers are to be applauded, anyone with an e-mail account will testify that the effect on the amount of spam arriving in inboxes has been zero. Frank Gorman, former legal counsel for the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, told The Washington Times: "It's not going to make an impact by itself, but you have to approach it from every angle."

In January this year, Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman, outlined a three-step programme to eliminate spam within two years: he proposed a system whereby senders would have to pay a digital stamp fee if recipients considered the mail to be spam.

The company has also introduced a whitelist scheme that will make its Hotmail database available to third parties willing to pay $20k to avoid the spam filters, provided they comply with Microsoft's guidelines. ®

Related stories

MS opens Hotmail to bulk mailers
Security is our biggest ever challenge Gates
MS takes fight to the spammers
EC draws line in spam sand
Chairman Bill's magic spam cure a revenue opportunity?
We'll kill spam in two years Gates

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.