Feeds

MS sues 200 for spamming

Trawling for names

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
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
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
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
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.