Microsoft has announced that it is filing 117 lawsuits against
alleged phishers to help crack down on rampant online identity
theft. In a joint release with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
and the National Consumers League, the technology behemoth used the
opportunity to also warn consumers against falling prey to phishing
These lawsuits follow lawsuits Microsoft has filed against
phishers and spammers in the last 12 months.
"Legislation and legal action are the only viable weapons we
have to use against the spammers themselves, but technology and
education are the shields we can use to protect the users," said
senior security analyst at Sophos Inc. "Through a combination of
these attack and defend tactics, we can reduce the ability of
criminals to make 'easy' money without fear of repercussion,
eventually making the reward not worth the risk."
Phishers use social engineering techniques to dupe users into
divulging personal or financial account information that is then
used to access their accounts or to steal their identities for
"It's great to see Microsoft consistently taking strong action
against these online thieves as the phishing threat continues to
explode," continued Mastoras. "Unfortunately, most of perpetrators
are unknown 'John Does,' so while not all of the lawsuits will
result in actual identification, it sends a strong signal out to
the community that such activities will not be tolerated."
Sophos has published best practice tips to
advise individuals on how to avoid being phished.