MS wins $4m from spammer scammmer

Ad-ware peddling cybersquatter

Microsoft has won a $3.95m judgement against a California man who used a combination of cybersquatting and spamming tactics to scare vulnerable users into downloading adware.

Daniel Khoshnood of Canoga Park, California, ran a pair of spam campaigns last year to coax consumers into running a toolbarwhich claimed to automatically download Microsoft's latest security patches from a site called "Windowsupdatenow.com". In reality, the toolbar loaded a utility called called BrowserAid/QuickLaunch which bombarded users with random, unrequested pop-up ads.

The scam came to light after MSN and Hotmail users complained to Microsoft about the bogus emails. Redmond in turn sent its lawyers after Khoshnood and two companies he ran (Pointcom and Joshua-than Investments) linked to the scam. Microsoft also sued ten other unnamed defendants in the same suit (PDF).

Judge Manuel Real, of the US District Court of the Central District of California, ruled that Khoshnood had violated Microsoft's trademark rights. He ordering the defendants to pay damages, legal costs and imposed an injunction that promises even stiffer penalties if Khoshnood ever again poses as Microsoft. In the 1990s Khoshnood cybersquatted domains such as Presidentclinton.com, and Microsoft-networks.com, which he used to redirect lost surfers to various porn and shopping sites.

Since the beginning of last year, Microsoft has initiated 60 US lawsuits against alleged spammers. Half a dozen cases have been decided in Redmond's favour, with one dismissal. Microsoft settled with four defendants and pushed two others into bankruptcy. In all, Microsoft has received $54m in judgments from the US courts, the company said.

Yes, but how much will it collect ®

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