Feeds

Microsoft sues John Does for bilking search bribery machine

Sop money pilfered

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.