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Microsoft Wins $3.95 Million from Spammer

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the little-guy-finally-wins dept.

Spam 169

LehiNephi writes "A Washington, D.C. judge fined Daniel Khoshnood, a major spammer, for pretending to be Microsoft in order to attract customers. Specifically, he registered windowsupdate.com (not to be confused with windowsupdate.microsoft.com), then sent out mass email encouraging users to download a toolbar from that website. Although the suit was not specifically about spamming, the mass emails (and subsequent complaints) were what caught Microsoft's attention. So far, Microsoft's campaign against spam has netted them $54 million from six judgments, one dismissal, four settlements, and two bankruptcies. The article doesn't mention whether the toolbar actually lived up to its claims of automatically applying security patches."

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Beware! (0, Redundant)

KI4BBO.org (797729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724607)

Spammers beware! :) Yeah, thats some pretty cray stuff, I dont see why windows wouldn't have registered windowsupdate.com.... I dunno :)

Re:Beware! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724623)

LOL, you're homeschooled, huh? Do your parents teach creationism, too? ROR!

obnoxious troll (-1, Offtopic)

zogger (617870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724690)

Let me see, parents who care enough about their kids to devote significant amounts of their time and a lot of effort into educating their children. And this is something to laugh about?

The home schooled children I have met are without exception well educated and interesting people. It is more common than not to see them enter college at very young ages. I have yet to meet any who aren't much more advanced than the typical child of similar age in a public school system.

Why don't you troll somewhere else, and pick on an adult as well?

Re:obnoxious troll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724717)

Let me see, parents who care enough about their kids to devote significant amounts of their time and a lot of effort into educating their children. And this is something to laugh about?

Yup. Because parents who really care will make sure their children are educated by professionals. And not just on the 1-2 subjects their parents MAYBE know a LITTLE about.

The home schooled children I have met are without exception well educated and interesting people.

The home schooled children I've met were all indoctrinated idiots who believed that god created the universe and were absolutely clueless in most scienfitic subjects.

Why don't you troll somewhere else, and pick on an adult as well?

Because Slashdot is more fun than "somewhere else" and while I'm older than 12, my 15 years don't exactly make me an adult myself. But don't worry, I regulary pick on adults here.

Re:obnoxious troll (1, Offtopic)

zogger (617870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724731)

He does not appear clueless to me. Let's see your site for comparison.

Re:obnoxious troll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724748)

I've got enough clue not to go out and build yet another pathetic "hello, this is me and my cat" site. I think what is missing in his life are the guys from school who laugh at him and beat him up when he does/says something dumb.

I thought as much (0, Offtopic)

zogger (617870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724806)

I figured you didn't have a site, nor anything even remotely cool to share, just an anonymous large nasty ego.

seeya, you can have the last word.

Re:I thought as much (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724849)

Then my last word is: poontang

Re:obnoxious troll (0, Offtopic)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724812)

Yea.. whatevever, I'll toss the troll a bone for my own amusement...

So, in other words, you're a fifteen year old kid sitting at home in front of your computer posting on slashdot on a Saturday morning?

I have seven years on you, four jobs, some schooling, and I've been out of the country on occasion whereas you haven't been out of your room in ten years. Yet, somehow, the adults should consider you - king of the blackheads - an authoritative resource on social response to education? You can't even find anything better to do with your time than post on Slashdot on a Saturday morning (go ahead and try to call me on doing the same thing - I dare you). Why should we believe you're worldy enough to have ever even met another PERSON outside of your family, much less one who's been homeschooled?

A lot of children your age are considering some other options [longwood.edu] . Maybe you should, too?

Re:obnoxious troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724843)

So, in other words, you're a fifteen year old kid sitting at home in front of your computer posting on slashdot on a Saturday morning?

You sure are a quick thinker. Obviously homeschooled.

have seven years on you, four jobs, some schooling, and I've been out of the country on occasion

I guess that would be true if you replaced "jobs" with "eczema", "schooling" with "beatings" and "country" with "my parent's basement".

You can't even find anything better to do with your time than post on Slashdot on a Saturday morning

You're right, I should be doing one of those exciting Saturday morning activities like everyone else. Moron.

Why should we believe you're worldy enough to have ever even met another PERSON outside of your family, much less one who's been homeschooled?

Why should I believe that you're not watching gay nigger porn RIGHT NOW?

Re:obnoxious troll (0, Troll)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724976)

Well hell.. if my subnet is going to be banned, I may as well troll to deserve it...

Oh my. Such a powerful intellect I'm dealing with here. I'd better just accede the flamewar right now because I don't now how I could possibly retort in the face of that biting "gay nigger porn" comment.... oh wait, yes I do:

You should know I'm not watching it because I don't enjoy watching your gay nigger daddy rape goats while he fingers your postule-encrusted asshole.

You're right, I should be doing one of those exciting Saturday morning activities like everyone else.

Hmmm. Good point. I've only seen one kid go by on a bike, a pack of three walk by talking, and a pair come back the other way laughing about something since I got up two hours ago. However, since you're completely socially inept, I guess we can rule out the last two options (unless recieving a savage beating counts as a social activity for the victim, in which case you're probably one of the most popular guys at your little boys' academy). I suppose the fact that you're a three hundred pound wanker who can't even see his balls without setting his flabby gut on a towel rack in front of a mirror rules out biking. Hmmm. Good point. You are too pathetic to participate in any Saturday morning activities...

I guess that would be true if you replaced "jobs" with "eczema", "schooling" with "beatings" and "country" with "my parent's basement".

Oh my. Wounding comeback. Please. No. Don't unleash that powerful wit again by spouting your droll, tired, bland insults. I mean, obviously, nobody has ever thought to use THOSE insults before. You're so utterly creative and unique. Did you learn that in the public school that I'M currently earning taxable income to pay for so that you can waste your entire, lifeless Saturday posting to Slashdot insulting people? You're a perfect example of why I support abortions. In fact, if I have one regret in life, it's that your parents didn't tie a bag around your head and leave you in the dumpster behind the trailer park after your mom squatted in the mud to squeeze your little trollish ass out.

Game. Set. Match. Bitch. Now if you'll excuse me, unlike you, I have better things to do with the rest of my day.

Re:obnoxious troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9725025)

Oh, this is so cool. Years of homeschooling have made this guy bitter and now it's all coming out. But I'm not qualified to repair your broken brain. Either go to church and have it re-washed or see a shrink, you creationist scum.

I mean, obviously, nobody has ever thought to use THOSE insults before.

Well, if you hadn't spent so much time being homeschooled by your fat whore of a mother, you'd know that your insults are actually much less creative. My, sitting in front of a computer on a Saturday morning and accusing other people of sitting in front of a computer on a Saturday morning. Gosh. Socially inept. Sure never heard that one before.

Did you learn that in the public school that I'M currently earning taxable income to pay for so that you can waste your entire, lifeless Saturday posting to Slashdot insulting people?

Hell, yeah. Is that awesome or what?

And before I forget: YHBT, HLB, FOAD.

What's wrong with creationism? (-1, Offtopic)

polished look 2 (662705) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724844)

I believe in creation.e

Re:What's wrong with creationism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724928)

Then you're an idiot.

Re:What's wrong with creationism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9725083)

There's something wrong with your beliefs if you find a simple statement of them a complete discussion in itself.

I have to say... (4, Insightful)

xigxag (167441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724609)

It seems rather dumb of MS not to have registered windowsupdate.com in the first place.

Re:I have to say... (4, Funny)

KI4BBO.org (797729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724622)

yep, thats what I was saying, but now it belongs to them.. so I guess alls well that ends well :)

Re:I have to say... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724643)

I think I'll have to teach you how to play on /.: you're not obliged to post 5 comments on every story that comes out, you can wait until you've got something intelligent to say!

Re:I have to say... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724657)

He'll see how that works when the moderator monsters wake up.

Re:I have to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724667)

I'll take care of him when I have mod points...

Re:I have to say... (5, Insightful)

betelgeuse-4 (745816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724650)

Most companies probably don't want to go down the route of registering all the keywords related to their business to stop third parties abusing the fact that the words are well known and recognised. If they did then scammers would use mispellings and 1337 variations, it could cost quite a bit to register all of them. For MS it's possibly easier to take just to take legal action when abuses do occur.

Re:I have to say... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724751)

On the contrary, many large companies do exactly that. My employer, Intuit, has registered thousands of domain names (including misspellings and variations) for this very reason.

Re:I have to say... (3, Insightful)

PatHMV (701344) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724756)

It would "cost quite a bit"? Do you understand how much money Microsoft has? Do you understand how expensive their lawyers are? They could register 10,000 domain names with a fraction of the interest they make on their money in an hour. I really don't think the expense is why they didn't do it.

Re:I have to say... (1)

xigxag (167441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9725132)

Indeed. They could register 10,000 domain names for approx. US$50,000/yr, which is "don't even bother to pick it up if it drops out of your pocket" change to Microsoft.

And apropos of this:

http://www.mocrisoft.com/ [mocrisoft.com]

Re:I have to say... (5, Funny)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724696)

I'm not at all surprised by that, considering that Microsoft can't even remember to register their own domain names [theregister.co.uk] ;-)

Re:I have to say... (1)

GerbilSoft (761537) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724754)

Didn't Microsoft have windowsupdate.com a while ago, then they dropped it when the Code Red worm (or another one, I forget which) was introduced because it had code for a DoS attack on windowsupdate.com?

Re:I have to say... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724784)

This article seems to be mistaken. The domain ownership for windowsupdate.com, according to NSI (no link to their evil whois-substitute), is:
Microsoft Corporation

Carolyn Gudmundson
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
US

Other articles [theregister.co.uk] on this story say that the spammer used the domain windowsupdatenow.com, which is owned by [dnsstuff.com] :
Windowsupdatenow

8975 hoello
brazil city, brazil none
BR

Re:I have to say... (5, Funny)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724872)

Registering a domain name is negative money. Letting someone else register it and then suing them is positive money. You might even be able to get the domain thrown in with the settlement.

Re:I have to say... (2, Funny)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 10 years ago | (#9725111)

They did register windowsupdate, but did it on RealNames(tm).

Actually, they did... (4, Informative)

MadAnthony02 (626886) | more than 10 years ago | (#9725154)

Windows Update [windowsupdate.com] is owned by microsoft - in fact, it is one of the URL's that the blaster worm [symantec.com] DOS'ed.

According to this register article [theregister.co.uk] that someone posted, the website that the spammer registered was windowsupdateNOW.com

This is helping them more than most of their produ (-1, Troll)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724618)

This is helping them more than most of their products. If they can earn $54million from spammers in this way then their offsetting a big part of all they have ever had to pay out in antitrust settlements.

Which is worse a big monopoly abusing corporation or a swarm of smaller more annoying spammers???

The net's biggest adult anime collection [sharkfire.net]

Re:This is helping them more than most of their pr (4, Interesting)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724649)

While I have not RTFA here (hell, this *is* /.), I would also have tended to want to side with the Redmond lot on this one.

Registering a website with that name so he could send spam, he deserved all he got. What Microsoft do with the money is another matter.

This is an example of what I would consider fair use [microsith.com] . Not sure that they have updated it in the last 10 years though :-)

Re:This is helping them more than most of their pr (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724655)

I highly doubt that microsoft would see much more than a few thousand dollars of that $54 million. It is just a number to possibly scare off any large companies who may try to do the same thing. They may now stop seeing that a ruling against them could bankrupt their company.

Classic dilemma (4, Funny)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724686)

punishing spammers = good!
rewarding Microsoft = bad!

why am I so split over this?

[set headbangmode = 1]

Re:Classic dilemma (2, Funny)

johannesg (664142) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724946)

This is definitely good. I mean, I hate Microsoft as much as any slashdotter, but once their Windows and Office monopolies disappear under a flurry of penguins (nasty stab wounds from those beaks, btw, but I digress) I wouldn't really want to see all those poor, misguided souls who work for them to lose their jobs. So maybe this is a first step towards a new, gentler (unless you are a spammer) Microsoft, one that is appreciated and praised by all (except spammers) for providing a vital public service. The new Microsoft, Guardian of the Network, Defender of Standards, and Tireless Destroyer of Software Patents and Copyright Extensions! They'll even have their own Linux distribution (Linux XP?) and GPL all of their current Windows source!

Of course, until that day comes, feel free to continue bashing them. I know I will ;-)

Re-distribute the cash? (5, Interesting)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724621)

Obviously it'll never happen, but it would be nice if all the proceeds of these victories against the scumbags were given to anti-spam projects and organisations to develop more robust hosting (to deflect spammer/virus author DDOS attacks) and improve the filtering software. It would also really annoy the spammers to see such projects getting massive cash injections ;-)

I recently added rbl support (spews and spanhaus), spamassassin and the mimedefang milter to our company incoming mailserver and it's REALLY making a difference! Since I have a corpus from hundreds of people too, the bayesian side is already extremely good. It still lets the odd scam through, but being a company I can't afford to block anything by accident.

Re:Re-distribute the cash? (5, Funny)

Myrmi (730278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724647)

"Microsoft has recently won a large lump sum of money from a spammer, and is redistributing the money to customers who may have been affected by his spam. In order to claim your money, forward this email to ten of your closest friends within the next 15 minutes"

Only FAGS subscribe to Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724719)

You know, Li-nux, like its name, is based on a lie. The lie is the idea that anything can be free. Our salvation came from Jesus sacrificing his life, and Linux comes from the perpetuation of programmer unemployment due to, and causing the production of, "free" software. Friends, if Linux is in your home, Jesus is not in your heart

Re:Re-distribute the cash? (1)

Chatmag (646500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724720)

What company site is this you speak of? Is it Javascript-games.org which is in your info? What is the point of adding rbl support to a site that does not exist, but is up for sale?

Re:Re-distribute the cash? (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724739)

;-) No, that was my personal site, until I forgot to renew the domain name and it was grabbed by the current owners (I missed it by 3 days ;-( ). I've only just remembered to change my sig...

Re:Re-distribute the cash? (1)

Chatmag (646500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724777)

Thanks for clearing that up. :)

Re:Re-distribute the cash? (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724823)

You sig might be updated, but your info still has the old web site.

"Microsoft Wins $3.95 Million" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724624)

Talk about conflicted. I'm not sure who to root for. Did the spammer use Linux?

Re:"Microsoft Wins $3.95 Million" (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724675)

I'd say neither.

Remember, the enemy of your enemy is not always your friend.

Re:"Microsoft Wins $3.95 Million" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724681)

And even worse, now MS has to adjust their accounting to handle values 10,000,000. Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa.

No, he used BSD. (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724873)

I guess that it's not dead after all...

Re:No, he used BSD. (2, Funny)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 10 years ago | (#9725141)

I guess that it's not dead after all...

No, he uses BSD, so his business is dying.

Hyenas and vultures are fighting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724626)

Microsoft battling spammers is like a battle between vultures and hyenas, i.e. two carrion feeders fighting over our carcass.

Ever seen Jurassic Park? (1)

Xhad (746307) | more than 10 years ago | (#9725095)

I was thinking more along the lines of the scene where the T-Rex busts in and eats the raptors before they can kill all the humans...

A victory is always a victory... (2, Insightful)

Reverant (581129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724628)

...even if its for Microsoft. Personally, I would prefer that the money would go to, say, Spamhaus, for giving us the XBL and the SBL.

heh (1)

tisme (414989) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724630)

I am glad this was the final judgement. This website caused me some grief having to fix up my parent's computer and get them hooked up to a new email address. Anyone know if MS has said they will give the winnings to a charity?

Good news! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724634)

Lets hope it will help them crush that open source menace. Power to the Microsoft!

News for nerds? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724635)

With all due respect, I think I read this news two days ago.

commentary (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724752)

although it is not unique in being a news and commentary site, it is a very large site, with discussions being the primary resource here. That's the difference, you can go read news all over the net, but some people wish to have discussions about it. Given that thousands of news articles appear daily across the WWW, the editors can only fit so many into the pages and still have enough of a base to handle the discussions adequately. If all you want to do is read news, why bother coming here and posting a complaint? Shouldn't you be out reading more news someplace else?

How do we feel? (5, Funny)

Ensign Regis (249331) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724644)

So, what do you do when evil is fighting evil?

Re:How do we feel? (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724654)

So, what do you do when evil is fighting evil?
Didn't they do a He-Man episode about that very same topic?

Re:How do we feel? (1)

DrLZRDMN (728996) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724697)

leave them alone and let them destroy each other.

Re:How do we feel? (1)

LeahofRivendell (797671) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724704)

Like in FPS, watch them kill each other, then run in and finish them both off.

Re:How do we feel? (2, Interesting)

Biogenesis (670772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724805)

A house can not survive if it is divided within itself, only good can come of this.

Re:How do we feel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724831)

You congratulate the winner, then stab them in the back...

Come on, hasn't everyone taken the cloak and dagger classes? I thought those were mandatory in high school.

The secret formula! (5, Funny)

MavEtJu (241979) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724648)

1. Write a popular mail client which automatically executes arbitrary code.
2. Sue the people who hijack PCs via the above mentioned mail client.
3. Profit!

The enemy of my enemy is my friend...
I feel confused.

Re:The secret formula! (1)

mz2 (770412) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724740)

Well, as fun as that sounds, it's still quite far from the truth. It's more like
  1. Write a popular mail client which automatically executes arbitrary code.
  2. Sue the people who hijack PCs via the above mentioned mail client.
  3. Profit from network related business a bit less than you would without the infinitely repeated security problems and the bad press it gives.

Re:The secret formula! (4, Insightful)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724768)

What the hell are you talking about? If you'd bothered to open up the article and, you know... READ it, you'd see that 1) they "profited" because this idiot registered a domain name in violation of their trademark and 2) there was no hi-jacking - the moron "victims" had to download the toolbar entirely of their own cognition.

I don't know what this has to do with any mail client other than the fact that the guy happened to be sending e-mails for his little scam...

Re:Am I my keeper's brother? (5, Informative)

minas-beede (561803) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724794)

It's unclear what you mean, but have you seen:

http://www.proxypot.org/ ?

They don't sue the people (yet), but they do try to get ISPs and LEAs interested in the evidence collected. Often the ISP approac succeeds. It is also useful to create a list of ISPs who will not act on abuse reports.

As a bonus, none of the spam that the spammers try to send through them reaches any victim.

For this approach "popular mail client" is meaningless. Spammers don't start with a list of mail servers, they start with the IP address space and go looking for abuable servers (for proxypots the abusable entities are open proxies.) What is run doesn't have to be a real MTA (or real proxy server), just look enough like one that the spammers accept it as one. For the cleverer spammers it is useful for it to look exactly like some historic abusable MTA, like many of the earlier versions of Sendmail. Whether you need to gear your attack to defeating the cleverer spammer isn't known, but it's probable that you can have a huge effect just by going after the dumbest spammers (that's a big group.)

It shocks me that (1) so many people don't know how spammers operate and (2) so many of those who do know (that is, recognize that spammers have to look for systems to abuse) never seem to be able to grasp the importance of that knowledge. It's like knowing a burglar favors basement windows but doing nothing to set a trap for a basement window burglar - just bitch about all the people with insecure basement windows. Stake out a few basement windows and some evening soon you may be face-to-face with he burglar. Stake out a few IP addresses and some time soon you may gather information that leads directly to the spammer's IP address. Poof! There went the supposed anonymity.

Support from /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724658)

Now I hope for once, that M$ will get support on this from the /. crowd. Who does not have my belief?

Re:Support from /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724734)

Does this mean that Bill Gates will finally send me the money that he owes me for sending those emails?

windowsupdate.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724669)

Didn't one of the recent worms (maybe Nimda?) target windowsupdate.com for a DDoS attack?

confussed 101 (0, Redundant)

laserbeak (794029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724671)

so what do us slashdotters do now, MS beat a spammer, we hate both, but the hardest part is coming up with a discision on who to flame!!!?

the court (0, Flamebait)

zogger (617870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724764)

The 54 million should go to the people who downloaded and installed the bogus-ware, the spam victims. MS certainly doesn't need it, and they don't deserve it from being lamers and not registering an obvious domain for them in the first place..

So let's flame the court system and the judge.

A suggestion (4, Funny)

lxt (724570) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724684)

As one of those who reported this to Microsoft, perhaps I should get some of the settlement? Don't suppose that's likely though...

Well, now we know why they're interested (-1, Troll)

scifience (674659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724689)

Microsoft's campaign against spam has netted them $54 million

Well, now we know why they're interested in going after spammers. To make some quick money - the reduction of spam that may result is just a small side benefit.

How did this spammer, or any other spammer, directly hurt Microsoft? IMHO, the only people these spammers hurt are the average consumers who have to put up with hundreds of junk mail messages in the inboxes every day. Microsoft shouldn't be the one making a fortune of lawsuits against spammers; the people who are directly effected by the spam should be.

Only FAGS subscribe to Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724705)

This means you!

Re:Well, now we know why they're interested (5, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724788)

How did this spammer, or any other spammer, directly hurt Microsoft?

Well Microsoft does get to pay Hotmail's bandwith bills, email storage costs, and employ people to deal with abuse reports? Don't forget that they also get to deal with all the spam that is undeliverable, bounced, or dropped by user's filters etc. Per individual spam, Microsoft may well be paying less than a recipient, but there is definitely a very real price tag attached.

Unfortunately however, under CAN-SPAM, only ISPs and not end-users can use the legislation to go after spammers through the courts. As the owner and operator of Hotmail that would naturally include Microsoft. Of course, the statement that the actions has "netted them $54 million" means the courts have awarded them that much, they will actually see far less of it than that.

It would certainly be nice if Microsoft (and others in a similar position) would make at least a token contribution to the anti-spam groups out there. Spamhaus [spamhaus.org] operates almost entirely on contibutions and sponsorships, Spamcop [spamcop.net] has a legal defence fund, Spam Assassin [apache.org] is now under the auspices of the Apache Foundation... the list goes on.

Re:Well, now we know why they're interested (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724803)

Give me a break. $54 million is pocket change to Microsoft, and there's nothing "quick" about our legal system.

Internally, spam hurts Microsoft as much as it hurts any other company that depends on email for their day-to-day operations. Externally, it makes Hotmail and MSN email accounts much more expensive to provide.

No doubt Microsoft is not acting solely for the public benefit -- I'm sure they're seeking some good PR from their campaign against spammers. But to ascribe their actions entirely to greed and to say spam doesn't hurt Microsoft is asinine.

Re:Well, now we know why they're interested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724959)

What I want to know is: are spammers really making that much money that microsoft really collects that much from them??? I always thought spam had very low return, but are evil mass mailers really making _millions_??? Or do these judgements simply bankrupt the spammers?

Re:Well, now we know why they're interested (1)

tc (93768) | more than 10 years ago | (#9725133)

Well, now we know why they're interested in going after spammers. To make some quick money - the reduction of spam that may result is just a small side benefit.

Riiiight, because we all know that Microsoft has a cash crisis and needs every dime they can get. Why, that $60B they have in the bank is barely enough to meet payroll...for the next centuary.

Isn't that... (0, Flamebait)

Zx-man (759966) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724701)

...a perfect occasion to flood & flame @ the /. ?

So what? (4, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724715)

Like all fines that criminals get, this one will make little difference, and Microsoft will never collect.

These law suites are good for victim satisfaction, but will not stop spammers, and in both the large and small of things really have no effect at all on spam.

This has very little to do with spam. (5, Insightful)

ezraekman (650090) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724722)

While I think it's great that yet another "identity thief" (sort of) has been busted, this does little to stem the flow of spam. What we truly need are more cases that are strictly based on the sending of unsolicited commercial e-mail. We've got some great [spamlaws.com] and not so great [spamlaws.com] legislation out there to protect us... why aren't we using it? Because it costs too much [theregister.co.uk] ?

And yes, I know that there have been a few [theregister.co.uk] landmark [theregister.co.uk] cases [cbronline.com] recently, but a few big falls aren't going to convince spammers as a whole to stop spamming. An concerted effort to shut them down via thousands of small lawsuits from you and I would be much more likely to have an effect, in my humble opinion.

Hmmmm, does this mean.... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724725)

....that the linux community can do the same?

Re:Hmmmm, does this mean.... (1)

minas-beede (561803) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724822)

MS probably sued as the owner of Hotmail.

The Linux community can run a proxypot:

http://www.proxypot.org/

No positive cash flow, but devastating effects against spammers. On the brighter side, no time spent with lawyers and courts: it's all Linux. The bigger goal is to end spam. Collecting cash settlements (which proably drive the spammers into bakruptcy) are just one aspect of the larger battle.

You've got to look at:

http://www.proxypot.org/reports/pacman

This is how spam fighting is done. At the intermediate level, not at the final server. (Sure, keep on blocking and filtering - but if you don't see by now that those two approaches together haven't ended spam you aren't looking very well.)

cash? (3, Interesting)

davids-world.com (551216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724743)

i am wondering if that means that M$ is actually getting those 3.5 million bucks from him, or more than 50m$ from all the spammers.

Did the guy keep a couple of millions in the attic, just in case? Or is he broke, struggling to pay his lawyers..?

Slashdot MS Borg icon (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724747)

Wow with all the "How should we feel?" questions, I'm suprised its microsoft with the Borg icon.

/. moral dilemma (4, Funny)

thecombatwombat (571826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724757)

In other news, SCO wins $699 from Satan, Lord of Lies.

Yep.

Microsoft wins settlement (4, Funny)

ekstasy (761064) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724778)

"In normal times, evil should be fought by good, but in times like this, well, it should be fought by another kind of evil." ..Come on, I had to.

I actually feel a little nauseous. (0, Redundant)

Gannoc (210256) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724787)


Microsoft... and LAWSUITS.. and... sweet Jesus. This is a good thing!?

I feel the same way I would if Osama Bin Laden gave me a preview copy of Half Life 2 - conflicted and bewildered.

Re:I actually feel a little nauseous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724833)

If Osama Bin Laden gave you a preview copy of Half Life 2, hopefully you would contact the FBI or some other law enforcement agency to report contact with a wanted terrorist. In the ensuing investigation, the game would be confiscated as evidence. So, no need to feel conflicted. ;)

Wow, I misread the title as... (1)

Maxite (782150) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724818)

"Microsoft Wins $3.95 from Spammer" Darn those cheap spammers!

Someone was also using exploits in their name (3, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724829)

My room mate put a fresh windows install on the Net and had the RPC service exploited within minutes, with a dialog directing her to that site to pay for an "update" which would "fix the problem." It also installed a variant of some worm or other with some nasty back doors, which subsequent virus scanning and firewalling took care of. Nice to see Microsoft nail this asshole's hide to the wall, even if it's just a tiny grain of sand in the beach.

Well.... (3, Interesting)

CrazyTiger (797612) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724893)

Microsoft is overreacting.I don't care if they hate canned meat,that doesn't mean they can sue those who make it.Next thing you know,they'll be suing grocery stores for selling Macintosh apples!

*mumble*Idiotic food bigots*mumble*

Toolbar... (5, Informative)

ideatrack (702667) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724931)

The article doesn't mention whether the toolbar actually lived up to its claims of automatically applying security patches.

No but from this article [theregister.co.uk] on The Register:

"In reality, the toolbar loaded a utility called called BrowserAid/QuickLaunch which bombarded users with random, unrequested pop-up ads."

Re:Toolbar... (1)

Analogy Man (601298) | more than 10 years ago | (#9725197)

So in other words it did like Microsoft. The toolbar added functionality that profoundly affected the security of your system.

Not in a good way, but they were "Security Patches".

Two faced...? (2, Interesting)

Whatthehellever (93572) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724953)

Ya know, as much as the /. community dosen't like Microsoft empire for one reason or another, this is one victory we can all applaud.

Strange, isn't it?

WindowsCleaners is next?! (0, Troll)

Canadian Idol (782628) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724971)

Spammers = bad yada yada yada

But what about this:
to pay Microsoft for violating the company's trademark and [i]profiting from the use of a domain named controlled by Microsoft[/i]

Eh? Controlled by Microsoft? How?

And this:
Windowsupdate.com, a domain name that Mr. Khoshnood had registered in violation of Microsoft's trademark rights.

Same old *Windows* = (tm) Bill story again. So I guess WindowsCleaners is next? (That domain is still available so I'm not spamming).

That sound you hear... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9724975)

... is that of thousands of Slashdotter heads simultaneously exploding.

when will we take security seriously? (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 10 years ago | (#9724980)

This stuff is partially the fault of the big companies. In this case MS has been harking on users for years that they must update computer the minute patches come out. They harangued customers that did not properly update machines, blaming such customers for all problems. However, they have only recently given consumers the tools needed to easily update their machines, and then only if the customer has broadband. This left a wide hole for someone else to exploit the fear. Fear that was created because MS chose to blame customers. This was especially true when update were erratic and most more common that today. The design on Windows led to the exploits. All MS had to do is take a bit more responsibility for their design decisions.

I have noticed this with bank websites as well. When online banking first grew big, I got an email survey that asked for personal information and led me to a third party site. I asked the bank if the survey was legit and they said it was. More recently the bank started letting users log in from an unsecured home page. Passwords seem to be protected, but we now have introduced a system in which users are accustomed to submitted sensitive information on unsecured pages. This habit can only benefit the crooks. I mean the latest exploit, involving ads on bank pages, should have been identified early as a security risk. I guess the risk to customer was less than the greed of the banks.

Washington Times owned by Moonies cult leader (0, Offtopic)

CracktownHts (655507) | more than 10 years ago | (#9725017)

For those who didn't know, the Washington Times has a very interesting background.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/long term/cult/unification/wtimes.htm/ [washingtonpost.com]

Just google for "moonies" for some even juicier information.

Microsoft vs. a spammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9725027)

I recall Henry Kissinger's comment on the Iran/Iraq War: "It's a shame they can't both lose."

Works for me (1)

Tekime (541514) | more than 10 years ago | (#9725045)

It doesn't bother me if MS wants to spend their time and money hunting spammers. I doubt their motivation lies solely with raking in millions from the defendants, especially since they probably will only collect a fraction of that money. In this case, it's probably less about spammers/scam artists in general as it is about protecting their intellectual property. Microsoft has their own selfish motivations for this whole "campaign", as we all would as executives forced to act in the best light of the company. I could personally care less what they are, though, as long as they're ousting the spammers. (And doing so through a legitimate means).

My thoughts on that toolbar (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#9725110)

I would think that, if this guy had truly developed a windows update toolbar for IE, he would have notified Microsoft in the first place, and either gotten their OK, or just given it to them for their own deployment. But, knowing how this world works...well, spyware, anybody?
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