Microsoft files suits in fight against phishing

Microsoft files suits in fight against phishing

Microsoft has filed 117 lawsuits against unknown Internet site operators who used "phishing" schemes to obtain personal and financial information from unsuspecting consumers.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said on Thursday it was filing "John Doe" defendant lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Washington state in an attempt to establish connections between worldwide "phishers" and discover the largest-volume operators.

"We must work together to stop these con artists from misusing the Internet as a tool for fraud," Aaron Kornblum, Internet safety enforcement attorney at Microsoft, said in a statement.

Microsoft has been engaged in a three-year fight against virus writers, hackers, spammers and Internet scam artists, saying that any harm against personal computer users could hurt Windows.

Microsoft was joined by officials from the Federal Trade Commission and the National Consumers League who used the lawsuits and Friday's April Fool's day to encourage consumers to beware of these online schemes.

"Phishing is more than a dirty trick played on unsuspecting consumers -- it's a serious identity theft problem," said Susan Grant, director of the National Consumers League's National Fraud Information Centre and Internet Fraud Watch program.

Earlier this week, Microsoft said it was working on a new identity system for Windows that would store users' personal information on desktops and keep them secure when they shop or access services online.

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