Feeds

Microsoft sues John Does for bilking search bribery machine

Sop money pilfered

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Microsoft has sued ten John Does for allegedly pilfering money from its search bribery machine.

Last May, in a desperate attempt to catch the uncatchable Google, Redmond began bribing people to use its third-rate search engine, Live Search. If you used search ads to find and buy certain stuff, Redmond would return a portion of the purchase price. Eventually.

Live Search has since vanished in favor of something Microsoft insists on calling Bing. But the bribery machine is still around. Naturally, it's now called Bing cashback.

With a recent Washington state suit, Microsoft accuses ten anonymous netizens of nabbing bribe money that didn't belong to them. "Defendants employed a scheme by which they obtained and attempted to obtain LiveSearch cashback payments under false pretenses and in violation of [Microsoft's service agreement]," the suit reads.

The suit is low on details, but it would seem the scheme involved a hack: "Defendants intentionally accessed a protected computer without authorization, or in excess of authorized access, and thereby obtained information from a protected computer," Redmond alleges.

Microsoft has yet to provide a full response to our request for comment. But a company spokesman told The Seattle Post Intelligencer: "This filing is a relatively routine action to help investigate fraud as part of our ongoing efforts to protect the integrity of our networks.

"The particular case here relates to suspected fraudulent credit card use for purchases made in the Live Search cashback program. We've filed this John Doe complaint as a step in the discovery process to enable us to get additional information from third parties for our investigation."

It's unclear how much bribe money was taken. But Microsoft is claiming damages in excess of $5,000.

Just after the bribery machine launched, eBayers noticed they could game the system by selling $630 in cash for $714. But Microsoft has told us that it has ways of stopping such schemes. "eBay and Microsoft have...incorporated various levels of abuse and fraud mitigation techniques throughout the program," it said. "We’re committed to providing a positive Live Search cashback experience for consumers and are actively working with eBay to identify, correct and prevent isolated incidents of inappropriate use of this program." ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Ex–Apple CEO John Sculley: Ousting Steve Jobs 'was a mistake'
Twenty-nine years later, post-Pepsi exec has flat-forehead moment
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.