Although Microsoft has long put some of its fiscal resources behind combatting piracy and trying to shut down criminal enterprises using its services, the company is now using its legal muscle to go after scammers abusing its online advertising business. Microsoft has announced it has filed five suits in the King County Superior Court in Seattle target “malvertising” operations that either use online ads to distribute malware or use deceptive advertising to lure users to other Internet sites bearing malware, trojans, and other threats.
The suits allege that businesses under the names Soft Solutions, Direct Ad, qiweroqw.com, ITmeter INC., and ote2008.info engaged in malvertising, deceptive ads, or put up deceptive Web sites to deliver “scareware” to Internet users. The problem, however, is that Microsoft doesn’t actually know the names of any of the individuals behind these companies: Microsoft is filing the suits as a way of starting a discovery process to turn up the folks behind the bad ads.
Microsoft associate general counsel Tim Cranton describes the suits as the first of their kind. “We hope that today’s filings will help deter malvertising in the future,” he said in a statement.