Microsoft Files Suit Against 129 Phishers

Microsoft said it is working with law enforcement to crack down on phishing, filing 129 suits across Europe and the Middle East. Already, at least five have settled, including four cases against teens that were settled out of court, and a two and a half year prison term for a Turkish man.
These phishing suits target those who attempt to trick Web users into disclosing personal banking information. The number of attacks involving bank information have doubled during the first half of this year, says security firm Symantec.

In 97 of the suits, Microsoft or its co-plaintiffs have provided information against the defendant. While many are criminal proceedings, some are civil lawsuits involving young people, who may not necessarily have criminal intent. In many cases, a 1,000-2,000 euro settlement is reached.

Of these cases, most of the criminal suits were filed in Turkey, followed by Germany and France. The majority of civil suits were filed in Britain, the company says.

While Microsoft is not the target of these attacks, it can claim damage to its image under the laws of some countries. Phishing is indeed affecting everyone – Gartner estimates that in just this year alone damages will be around $2.8 billion.

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Security Bites Podcast: Firefox 2 beats IE 7

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Mozilla unleashed Firefox 2 this week. Although the new browser is not a giant leap on from version 1.5, it does beat Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 in several aspects, including security, CNET News.com’s Joris Evers and CNET.com’s Robert Vamosi say on this week’s Security Bites podcast.

The release of the new Firefox was the starting gun for bug hunters to find security flaws in the applications. Microsoft said claims that the first IE 7 vulnerability had been found were incorrect–the flaw lies in Outlook Express instead. However, the software giant did confirm a spoofing flaw. Mozilla, meanwhile, is rebutting bug claims in Firefox 2.

The new browsers have raised some privacy questions among bloggers. Some suggest that the antiphishing filter in Firefox is a front for a data-gathering operation by Google. But no data is sent to Google, unless you opt in to do so. The phishing shield in IE 7, however, does send every Web address you enter into the browser to Microsoft.

Here’s the perfect stocking stuffer: tin foil wallets. Radio tags in passports and credit cards are causing privacy concerns. The solution: Wrap your passport and your credit cards in aluminum foil.