Feeds

MS sues ringtone firm over smut-punting IM spam scam

SPIM phishers feel the wrath of Redmond's lawyers

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Microsoft has set its legal attack dogs on a Hong Kong distributor of mobile ringtones, over allegations that it has flooded Microsoft Live Messenger users with deceptive, fraudulent IM spam messages ultimately aimed at promoting online smut.

Funmobile has allegedly sent thousands of spam messages via instant messages (SPIM) over the last four months or so. The case, which seeks an injunction and damages, was filed in Seattle last month, but the name of the targeted firm was only announced by Microsoft on Thursday. Mobilefunster, Funmobile's US subsidiary, is also named in the same lawsuit.

The alleged scam begins with IM messages, supposedly from a user's friend or acquaintance, inviting prospective marks to check out a link. The linked website asks for a prospective mark's IM login credentials. This marks the approach as a variant on phishing scams more usually associated with tricking the unwary into handing over online banking usernames and passwords.

Those that responded to the IM phish ruse were usually redirected to an adult website. In other cases, a supposed social networking community for Windows Live Messenger users, that in reality had nothing to do with Microsoft's service.

Meanwhile, the contacts of the compromised IM account are allegedly harvested for fresh scam targets.

Microsoft hopes its legal action will discourage similar privacy-invading scams in future. More details on the alleged scam and Microsoft response can be found in a posting on a Microsoft legal issues blog here. The complaint against Funmobile can be found here (PDF). ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.