Microsoft hunting down phishers

— 11:15 AM on November 22, 2006

European and Middle Eastern phishers have had a new enemy for the past eight months: Microsoft. The software giant says it has laid down some vigilante justice by filing 129 lawsuits since it kicked off its Global Phishing Enforcement Initiative back in March. According to CNet, three quarters of the lawsuits are criminal procedures in which Microsoft has worked together with other companies and local authorities. Most of the criminal complaints (38%) were filed in Turkey, but Germany was in second place with 21% of the complaints, and France was third with 8.5%. One lawsuit in Turkey, for example, ended with a 2.5-year jail sentence for the culprit.

The remaining quarter of the lawsuits are civil procedures, and there the United Kingdom leads by being host to 56% of the cases. CNet says civil cases have also been filed in Dubai, Italy, Morocco, and the Netherlands. These lawsuits typically result in settlements of "$1,290 to $2,570," which Microsoft considers to be enough of a deterrent.

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