March 20, 2006, 10:03 AM — Microsoft Corp. Monday unveiled a global initiative to crack down on cybercriminals who engage in phishing. The company will set in motion more than 100 legal actions against phishers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) by the end of June, according to a release.
Phishing attacks use spam to entice Internet users to visit what appear to be legitimate e-commerce Web sites but are in fact phony sites controlled by cybercriminals. Users are encouraged to enter personal data such as passwords and bank account or credit card details, which the criminals can then exploit to commit crimes.
Neil Holloway, president of Microsoft EMEA, introduced the company's Global Phishing Enforcement Initiative (GPEI) at a technology debate in Brussels hosted by the European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) and cosponsored by Interpol.
The aim of GPEI is to better coordinate and expand on Microsoft's previous antiphishing moves. The vendor will work alongside law enforcement agencies, different industry sectors and governments with the mission of improving consumer education, upping the number of cybercriminal prosecutions and identifying more ways to combat phishing by using technology.
Of the more than 100 planned legal actions against phishers in EMEA, 53 are already under way, including actions against alleged cybercriminals in countries including Austria, Egypt, France, Morocco, Spain, Turkey and the U.K., the release said.
Phishing attacks are growing, according to an online poll conducted by security firm Sophos PLC in February. The survey of 600 business users determined that 22 percent of PC users receive at least five phishing e-mail messages every day.