Microsoft evidence nabs global spam ring

12 May 2005

International spam ring busted and brought to court with the help of honeypot Hotmail accounts

Microsoft says it has helped gather evidence against a global spam ring, applauding a US judge for bringing suit against them.

The company's Internet Safety Enforcement team found its honeypot Hotmail accounts filled with more than 45,000 junk mails believed to have originated from the spam ring in just three weeks.

The organisation is spread internationally, with operatives in Boston and Russia, domains registered in Monaco, Australia and France and servers in China, Korea, Brazil and Taiwan.

Nine defendants - seven men and two companies - are now at the wrong end of a suit brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly for violations of federal and state law related to their spamming activities.

'We applaud Attorney General Reilly for his strong leadership and sustained anti-spam efforts because spam is not just annoying, in this case it's illegal,' said Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft. 'Spam can be devious, intentionally deceptive and is sometimes loaded with either viruses that crash computers or trickery designed to get you to give up your personal information.'