Microsoft Vows To Keep Pressure On Phishers

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Company officials announced the plans at the debut of what Microsoft calls its Global Phishing Enforcement Initiative (GPEI), a worldwide effort to coordinate and expand anti-phishing work through prosecution, partnerships, and consumer protection software, such as the beefed-up Internet Explorer 7 browser scheduled to release later this year.

By the end of June, Microsoft will have initiated at least 51 new anti-phishing cases in the company's European, Middle Eastern, and African territories, bringing the total filed to over 100.

"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 the] Internet," said Nick Holloway, president of Microsoft's EUMA (Europe/Mideast/Africa) group, in a statement.

Holloway said Microsoft was committed to battling phishing, and would continue to partner with law enforcement, educate consumers, and develop anti-phishing technologies.

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Although Holloway didn't divulge details on the upcoming lawsuits, the company's statement said the filings would include formal complaints, court actions, and settlements against "serious criminals engaged in phishing."

Microsoft claimed that it had shut down nearly 5,000 phishing sites worldwide, and had filed 117 phishing-related lawsuits in the U.S. alone during 2005.

A recent survey by U.K.-based security company Sophos said that more than half of U.S. business PC users receive at least one or more phishing e-mails daily, while the Anti-Phishing Working Group, an American organization, has noted that phishing attacks reached an all-time high in late 2005.