Microsoft Targets Cybercriminals With Launch of Global Phishing Enforcement Initiative

Microsoft to initiate over 100 legal actions in Europe, the Middle East and

Africa; company brings together law enforcement, governments and industries in

worldwide fight against online fraud.

Mar 20, 2006, 00:00 ET from Microsoft Corp.

    BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At a technology
 debate hosted by EuroISPA, the European Internet Services Providers
 Association, and co-sponsored by Interpol in Brussels today, Neil Holloway,
 president of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), unveiled a
 global law enforcement campaign that will target cybercriminals behind
 phishing attacks. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:   MSFT) announced that by the end of
 June 2006 it will have initiated legal actions on more than 100 cases in EMEA
 against individuals suspected of committing online fraud; 53 of these will
 have already started by the end of March 2006.
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     "Phishing is a crime. It undermines consumers' trust in the Internet and
 is an impediment to European policy-makers' and industries' efforts to boost
 citizens' use of innovative and valuable Internet services," Holloway said.
 The legal actions are linked to a larger Microsoft(R) program, the Global
 Phishing Enforcement Initiative (GPEI), launched by the company to coordinate
 and expand its many anti-phishing efforts worldwide to fight phishers through
 consumer protection, partnerships and prosecution. "Microsoft's global
 phishing enforcement initiative works in partnership with law enforcement,
 multiple industries and governments to educate consumers, prosecute criminals
 and develop technology solutions to address the threat of phishing," Holloway
     Bernhard Otupal, crime intelligence officer with the Financial and High-
 Tech Crime Unit at Interpol, also spoke at the debate. "Partnership between
 Interpol and Microsoft has been of immense benefit to police in Interpol's
 member countries, especially in relation to the training of officers in the
 latest technological advances," he said. "Increasing such knowledge, for
 example in the development of different servers and networks based on
 Microsoft products, can be crucial to the investigation and forensic work of
 police agencies around the world."
     President of EuroISPA, professor Michael Rotert, added, "Phishing is a
 threat to all online industry stakeholders' efforts to increase the
 availability and takeup of online services. Hence, the partnerships that joint
 efforts between industry, policy-makers, law enforcement and consumers create
 and strengthen are really vital if our industry is to effectively counter this
 threat. We hope that this initiative will stimulate further stakeholders to
 counter phishing."
     The first 53 legal actions to be brought under the GPEI in Europe, the
 Middle East and Africa today include legal actions against alleged phishers in
 Turkey, France, Spain, Morocco, the U.K., Germany, Austria, Egypt and Sweden.
 They will be followed by at least 51 more cases throughout Europe, the Middle
 East and Africa against people who have allegedly created phony Web sites to
 lure people into sharing their personal data, such as e-mail and passwords,
 credit card numbers, or bank account information. Legal proceedings will
 include formal complaints, action in courts and settlements against serious
 criminals engaged in phishing crime.
     The launch of the initiative is the latest move in Microsoft's long-term
 commitment to address phishing and other forms of cybercrime by working with
 law enforcement and industry partners. Microsoft has led the takedown of 4,744
 phishing sites worldwide, and in the U.S. last spring it filed 117 phishing
 lawsuits. In addition, the company continues to invest in technological
 defenses against the phishing threat such as the new Phishing Filter in
 Internet Explorer 7. The new phishing filter consolidates the latest
 up-to-date industry information to identify and warn customers about potential
 online risks.
     Today's EuroISPA- and Interpol-sponsored round-table included Microsoft's
 Holloway; Interpol's Otupal; and Kurt Einzinger, vice president of EuroISPA.
 Pat Cox, former president of the European Parliament, moderated the session
 and outlined the coordinated approach of GPEI for combating phishing and
 online fraud. The panel evaluated current anti-phishing initiatives, discussed
 how these fit with the EU policy agenda and showcased new approaches to combat
 this cybercrime threat.
     Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services
 and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
     NOTE:  Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the
 United States and/or other countries.
     The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the
 trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.