Microsoft Casts Net to Catch Phishers
Microsoft is taking a play from the playbook of “Dirty Harry” by telling phishers around the globe to,” go a head punk and make their day”. They are working with law enforcement in Europe and the Middle East to catch gangs of phishers.
Phishing is a form of fraud used to gain access to personal financial information. Usually it is executed through e-mail or instant messaging. Currently Microsoft is involved with 129 lawsuits directed at phishers.
One case in Turkey has landed a phisher a 2 and a half-year prison sentence. Microsoft started the Global Phishing Enforcement Initiative in March of this year. Nancy Anderson deputy general counsel at the company said “”Sometimes we initiate our own legal action, but more importantly we work with law enforcement agencies”, she told Reuters.
The frequency of phishing attacks has increased rising to 157,000 in the first half of 2006 according to security software firm Symantec. Research group Gartner projects that the financial loss due to phishing in 2006 could reach as much as $2.8 billion.
Microsoft can pursue lawsuits even if it is not the victim of fraud because laws in many countries allow for anyone who has been harmed by phishing to receive restitution.
The company uses Web-crawling software and complaints from customers to investigate the crime. Then old school Rockford Files dective work is used to reveal the identity of the culprits.
Bad phishers! Bad phishers! What ya gonna do? When Microsoft comes for you?