Successful Legal Action Helps Protect Microsoft Customers from ‘Spim’

Posted by Tim Cranton 
Associate General Counsel

As you may recall, Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit last July  filed a lawsuit alleging that Hong Kong-based Funmobile Ltd. had improperly sent instant messaging spam – or “spim” – to  thousands of Windows Live Messenger customers since March 2009. 

I’m happy to report that this week, Microsoft has reached a settlement with Funmobile. Under the terms of the agreement,  Funmobile  will refrain from “spimming” customers or contacts of Windows Live Messenger and will make a cash payment to Microsoft.  The successful resolution of this case sends a clear signal that Microsoft does not tolerate this kind of activity on its networks and we will continue to take action to protect our customers.

 

“Spim” – or instant messaging spam – attacks targeted victims with IMs that appear to come from the e-mail address of a friend or acquaintance and invite the recipient to click on a link. This can potentially allow “spimmers” to collect usernames and passwords and use them to access proprietary systems and customers’ accounts.  Attackers can then “scrape” or “harvest” the contacts within a victim’s account and send unsolicited bulk IMs to each of those contacts. Such attacks on instant messaging services are more than just a nuisance; they are a threat to user privacy.

Microsoft invests in technological and educational measures to help fight spim because the safety of our customers is a top priority for us.  Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit also takes legal action where appropriate because we believe that enforcement can play a valuable role, supplementing technology and education efforts, to help ensure the highest levels of safety and security for all Internet users.

A copy of the injunction can be viewed here.

For more information about staying safe online, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/protect.

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Microsoft News Center Staff