Microsoft sues three hackers accused of click-fraud scam

Microsoft seeks $750,000 in damages for "massive" click fraud scheme

This is one of those stories where Microsoft gets to wear the white hat. On Monday, the company filed its first lawsuit against alleged click fraud hackers. The suit is filed against three people that Microsoft says perpetrated a "massive" click fraud scam involving hundreds of thousands of IP addresses. The alleged click-fraudsters were having their bots click on advertisements selling auto insurance and items associated with the World of Warcraft on-line game, reports IDG News Service. Microsoft is asking the court that those three pay at least US$750,000 in damages.

These folks were allegedly trying to bilk their competitors with the scheme. The bots click on the ads, and the money owed by advertisers grows and grows. Meanwhile there are no leads and certainly no sales generated by the all of those clicks.

The complaint, filed at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington is against Eric Lam, Gordon Lam and Melanie Suen, of Vancouver, Canada. Documents claim that the three breached Microsoft's adCenter to run their scheme. The story reports:

"The on-line advertising industry has been making strides in this area for years, implementing technology, best practices and techniques to help address issues such as click fraud," wrote Tim Cranton, the software company's associate general counsel, in a blog posting. "Today’s action is one more step to expand that effort by utilizing the legal system to combat click fraud. Enforcement can play a critical safety role, supplementing technology and industry best practices, by using lawsuits and criminal prosecutions to stop the most egregious violators and hold them accountable for the fraud they commit."

Microsoft said it had traced back a series of questionable, high-volume clicks to computers or servers run by Lam, who has links with both a World of Warcraft on-line store and auto-insurance advertising.

It is good to see the mighty legal resources of Microsoft to used to fight the good fight.

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