Vulnerabilities / Threats
6/21/2010
01:27 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Sues Hotmail Spammer Again

The company's complaint claims the defendants created fake Hotmail accounts in order to sanitize their spam messages and make them appear legitimate.

Microsoft is suing a group of individuals and companies for creating millions of fake Hotmail accounts in order to subvert community spam reporting.

In a blog post last week, John Scarrow, general manager of safety services for Microsoft, said that earlier in June, Microsoft had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle alleging that defendants Boris Mizhen, Dimitri Kovalsky, Muhommad Mohsan-ul Moula and their respective companies, in conjunction with DeCaptcher.com, and several John Does, "opened millions of Hotmail e-mail accounts and hired people to manually identify spam mails as legitimate mails in order to trick Hotmail into classifying spam as legitimate mail."




Image Gallery: 10 Drivers For Microsoft Surge In 2010
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

Microsoft runs its Junk E-Mail Reporting Program (JMRP) and Smart Network Data Services (SNDS) to allow Hotmail users to report spam, to provide data to legitimate marketers to improve message deliverability, and to help Microsoft tune its SmartScreen spam filter

The company's lawsuit alleges that the defendants "enrolled in Microsoft's JMRP and SNDS under false pretense to gain access to detailed data about Defendants' e-mail activity, hired a team and used computer software to generate millions of unauthorized Hotmail e-mail accounts, and then used those unauthorized Hotmail e-mail accounts to sanitize Defendants' spam by identifying their own spam e-mail messages as 'not spam.'"

In so doing, Microsoft's complaint says that the defendants were able to bypass its spam filters and ensure that their spam messages reached Hotmail users.

Microsoft, like other companies that provide free online services, relies on CAPTCHA puzzles to prevent automatic account creation. But computers have become increasingly capable of solving those puzzles using a variety of methods. Spammers, Microsoft concedes in its complaint, "continue to adopt practices and technological devices to evade Microsoft's technologies and to frustrate Microsoft's efforts."

The lawsuit alleges that Moula, a.k.a. Mr. Ranak, create "verified" Hotmail e-mail accounts with usernames and passwords for as little as $15 per thousand. Decaptcher.com offers to solve such puzzles for as little as $2 per thousand.

This is the second time Microsoft has sued Mizhen for spamming Hotmail users. In 2004, Mizhen settled a lawsuit brought by the company a year earlier for $2 million.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-2413
Published: 2014-10-20
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the ja_purity template for Joomla! 1.5.26 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the Mod* cookie parameter to html/modules.php.

CVE-2012-5244
Published: 2014-10-20
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Banana Dance B.2.6 and earlier allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the (1) return, (2) display, (3) table, or (4) search parameter to functions/suggest.php; (5) the id parameter to functions/widgets.php, (6) the category parameter to...

CVE-2012-5701
Published: 2014-10-20
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in dotProject before 2.1.7 allow remote authenticated administrators to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the (1) search_string or (2) where parameter in a contacts action, (3) dept_id parameter in a departments action, (4) project_id[] parameter in a project ...

CVE-2012-5865
Published: 2014-10-20
SQL injection vulnerability in dispatch.php in Achievo 1.4.5 allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the activityid parameter in a stats action.

CVE-2012-5866
Published: 2014-10-20
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in include.php in Achievo 1.4.5 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the field parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.