Less than a week after a malicious advertising attack against the New York Times ad servers, Microsoft filed five civil lawsuits against companies allegedly using online advertising to serve malware.
The lawsuits allege that individuals using the business names “Soft Solutions,” “Direct Ad,” “qiweroqw.com,” “ITmeter INC.” and “ote2008.info” used malvertisements to distribute malicious software or present deceptive websites that peddled scareware to unsuspecting Internet users.
“Although we don’t yet know the names of the specific individuals behind these acts, we are filing these cases to help uncover the people responsible and prevent them from continuing their exploits, said Tim Cranton, associate general counsel at Microsoft.
Our filings in King County Superior Court in Seattle outline how we believe the defendants operated, but in general, malvertising works by camouflaging malicious code as harmless online advertisements. These ads then lead to harmful or deceptive content. For example, ads may redirect users to a website that advertises rogue security software, also known as scareware, that falsely claims to detect or prevent threats on the computer. Malvertising may also directly infect a victim’s computer with malicious software like Trojans – programs that can damage data, steal personal information or even bring the users’ computer under the control of a remote operator.
Here are the copies of Microsoft’s court filings:
- Microsoft Corp. and Microsoft Online Inc. v. John Does 1-20, d/b/a DirectAd Solutions: King Co. Superior Court Cause No. 09-2-34024-2 SEA
- Microsoft Corp. v. John Does 1-20, d/b/a Soft Solutions, Inc. King Co. Superior Court Cause No. 09-2-34021-8 SEA
- Microsoft Corp. v. John Does 1-20, d/b/a qiweroqw.com: King Co. Superior Court Cause No. 09-2-34020-0 SEA
- Microsoft Corp. v. John Does 1-20, d/b/a ote2008.info: King Co. Superior Court Cause No. 09-2-34022-6 SEA
- Microsoft Corp. v. John Does 1-20, d/b/a ITmeter Inc. : King Co. Superior Court Cause No. 09-2-34023-4 SEA