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A Welcome Microsoft Lawsuit

Future Lawyer Rick Georges reports here that it's Microsoft to the rescue in the the war on phishing -- a criminal activity that uses e-mail to fraudulently acquire users' financial information. Phishing has become a serious and costly problem. From this article  at Yahoo news:

The total amount of damages from phishing is expected to be $2.8 billion in 2006 alone, research group Gartner estimates.  Phishers send emails, in which they pretend to be a financial institution or other legitimate organization, asking people to verify personal information such as account numbers and passwords.... Phishing has mushroomed over the last few years, with the number of attempts to trick citizens into handing over their bank account details almost doubling in the first half of 2006 to 157,000, according to a recent report from security software vendor Symantec.

Now, Microsoft has initiated 129 lawsuits in Europe and the Middle East against phishers. Of the lawsuits initiated, 97 are criminal procedures, where Microsoft believes the perpetrators to be criminals. The remainder involve civil actions against teenagers without criminal purpose and seek civil settlements to deter future mischief.

For Georges, the Microsoft action represents a way to crack down on the practice of phishing. But it's also a chance for Georges to praise Microsoft, "whom [he] pummel[s] regularly for stupid decisions."  In the meantime, while we wait for Microsoft to bring phishers to justice, the best cure for phishing is Georges' final words of advice: Never click on a link in an e-mail. 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on November 27, 2006 at 05:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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