Microsoft hires anti-phishing crusader

Microsoft has hired the founder of anti-phishing Web site Castlecops.com to help with its efforts to clean up the Internet.

Microsoft has hired Paul Laudanski, the man behind the anti-phishing Castlecops.com Web site, to help with the software company's phishing and spam investigations.

Laudanski, a former volunteer firefighter, Castlecops.com announcement the move on Castlecops.com last week, saying that he's looking to find someone else to run the site that he founded in 2002.

With his new job at Microsoft, he simply doesn't have time to keep up with the Castlecops work, he said in an interview on Tuesday. "I won't be able to ensure the same kind of support that I was able to provide in the past," he said. "I won't be able to do it justice."

Castlecops had been a full-time job for Laudanski and his wife, Robin, since 2005.

At Microsoft he will work as an Internet safety investigator for Microsoft's Live Consumer Services group. Microsoft has a large Internet Safety Enforcement team that works with law enforcement to fight spam, viruses, botnets, typo-squatting and even child pornography on the Internet.

At Castlecops, Laudanski managed a team of about 120 volunteers who processed user-submitted spam, phishing and malicious code reports. The group worked as a clearinghouse for complaints and was often active in taking down malicious Web sites and servers. On a typical day it processes about 1,000 phishing attempts, Laudanski said.

Castlecops clearly has the attention of the bad guys.

Last year, it was attacked by Gregory King, a 21-year-old hacker who operated a botnet network of 7,000 hacked computers. On Tuesday, King pleaded guilty to attacking Castlecops with a distributed denial-of-service attack and is facing a two-year prison sentence.

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