Vulnerabilities / Threats
6/21/2010
01:27 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
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
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-7896
Published: 2015-03-03
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in HP XP P9000 Command View Advanced Edition Software Online Help, as used in HP Device Manager 6.x through 8.x before 8.1.2-00, HP XP P9000 Tiered Storage Manager 6.x through 8.x before 8.1.2-00, HP XP P9000 Replication Manager 6.x and 7.x before ...

CVE-2014-9283
Published: 2015-03-03
The BestWebSoft Captcha plugin before 4.0.7 for WordPress allows remote attackers to bypass the CAPTCHA protection mechanism and obtain administrative access via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-9683
Published: 2015-03-03
Off-by-one error in the ecryptfs_decode_from_filename function in fs/ecryptfs/crypto.c in the eCryptfs subsystem in the Linux kernel before 3.18.2 allows local users to cause a denial of service (buffer overflow and system crash) or possibly gain privileges via a crafted filename.

CVE-2015-0890
Published: 2015-03-03
The BestWebSoft Google Captcha (aka reCAPTCHA) plugin before 1.13 for WordPress allows remote attackers to bypass the CAPTCHA protection mechanism and obtain administrative access via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-2168
Published: 2015-03-03
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Further investigation showed that it was not a security issue in customer-controlled software. Notes: none.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.