Microsoft sues mobile ringtone company for phishing, spam

The lawsuit claims that Funmobile phished users and then spammed their contacts

Microsoft has sued a Hong Kong seller of mobile ringtones, saying the company used phishing techniques to flood Microsoft Live Messenger users with spam messages.

The lawsuit accuses a company called Funmobile of sending out thousands of spam instant messages over the past four months. The case was filed last month in King County Superior Court in Seattle, but Microsoft did not name the company involved until Thursday. Microsoft is seeking a court injunction to stop the spam, as well as monetary damages.

According to court filings, Funmobile and its U.S. subsidiary, Mobilefundster, have sent out instant messages that included links to phishing sites controlled by the company. Victims who clicked on a link would sometimes see a Web site -- called MeetYourIM -- that asked them to enter their MSN e-mail and password so they could participate in a "Harmless community site which is offering users a platform to meet each other for free."

If the victim entered his credentials, Funmobile would then harvest all of his friend's addresses and then spam them, Microsoft said. This kind of spam -- also known as spim -- is particularly effective because it looks like it's coming from a friend.

"This kind of activity crosses the line from legitimate third party services to 'parasiteware' that harms our customers," wrote Tim Cranton, a lawyer with Microsoft's Internet Safety Enforcement group, in a blog posting.

Windows Live users should "never disclose their Windows Live ID and password to a third party other than Microsoft," Cranton said.

Funmobile is run by brothers Christian and Henrick Heilesen, according to court filings. The company did not respond to messages seeking comment.

About 320 million people use the Windows Live Messenger system.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags spamMicrosoftsecurityphishing

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?