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Microsoft, Spitzer Strike Out at Spammers

Eliot Spitzer, the New York State Attorney General whose office spearheaded investigations of Wall Street abuses, is working with Microsoft to punish spammers.

Spitzer and Microsoft on Thursday said they filed lawsuits against alleged spammers. Targets of the lawsuits include New York-based e-mail marketing company Synergy6 Inc. and Scott Richter, who is accused by the anti-spam organization Spamhaus as being the world's third-most prolific spammer. According to Spitzer, Richter is responsible for sending several hundred million junk e-mails per day.

Spitzer filed a lawsuit, and Microsoft filed six lawsuits on Wednesday against alleged spammers in New York, Washington, Texas and Colorado. The lawsuits allege that Richter and accomplices in several states used illegal spam campaigns with forged sender names, false subject lines, fake server names, inaccurate and misrepresented sender addresses or obscured transmission paths.

The lawsuits charge Richter and his accomplices with sending illegal spam through 514 compromised IP addresses in 35 countries. Spitzer's office said compromised servers included New York City ISP IntelliSpace, Singer Computer in Russia, The Kuwaiti Ministry of Finance, Slovenia-based ISP Slovenia Online, Internet-W-W-Namib-1 in South Africa and a municipal hospital in Seoul, Korea.

The effort is not the first time Microsoft has used its substantial legal resources to lash out at spammers. Exactly six months ago, Microsoft filed 15 lawsuits against companies and "John Doe" spammers in Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Utah, California and the United Kingdom.

In both this month's and June's efforts, Microsoft has chosen to target bulk mail senders who use deliberately misleading From addresses and subject lines as opposed to purveyors of unsolicited corporate e-mail.

The Microsoft and Spitzer announcement comes in the wake of the signing into law earlier this week of a national anti-spam law called the Controlling the Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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