AOL sues big phishing organizations

America Online (AOL) has filed three civil lawsuits against major phishing "gangs," seeking US$18 million from the groups, the company said Tuesday.

AOL, using a Virginia antiphishing law adopted in July 2005, filed the lawsuits against several phishing groups in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in Alexandria. The lawsuits also cite federal law focusing on trademark and antispam rules.

AOL filed suit against 30 unnamed phishing organizations, many of them outside the U.S., said Nicholas Graham, an AOL spokesman. Through the lawsuits, AOL hopes to identify the phishing operations, and the company expects the number of defendants will grow as the lawsuit moves forward, he said.

"Our intention is to bust them apart and put them out of business, which is good for AOL and good for the Internet at large," he said.

The company accuses several phishing organizations of sending AOL and CompuServe members e-mail messages attempting to trick and lure them to fake Web sites intended to look like the sites of legitimate companies. The phishing scams try to fool the Web users into giving up their personal information, such as AOL screen names, passwords and credit card information.

The scams targeted customers' personal information linked to several companies, including AOL, the company said.

The money AOL is seeking would address the effect phishing groups have had on the company, not individual AOL users. While the Virginia antiphishing law does not allow private citizens to sue phishing organizations, the monetary award would "directly" benefit AOL users because the company would use the money to fight phishing and other Internet scams, Graham said.

AOL has collected tens of thousands of examples of e-mail messages transmitted by what the company called phishing "gangs," it said. The company did not identify the "gangs" or give their locations. A telephone message seeking further information from an AOL representative was not immediately returned.

Phishing scams are a serious problem, AOL said. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is warning of widespread phishing e-mail scans as tax filing deadlines near. The Anti-Phishing Working Group found nearly 50,000 phishing Web sites created last year; more than 7,000 in December alone, the company noted.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?