Yahoo! wins $610 million compensation for spam

12 December 2011



The US web portal Yahoo! said on Wednesday (7 December 2011) that a judge has sentenced in absentia spam writers who created a fake lottery on behalf of Yahoo! to pay it $610 million (€455 million) in damages. The ruling was handed down by a New York federal court on Monday. It is the result of a lawsuit filed in 2008.

According to AP, a group of Nigerian and Thai cyber criminals were sending mass emails to Internet users, indicating that they had won a lottery organised by the American group Yahoo! But these messages were actually used to obtain, through a phishing technique (or"phishing" ), personal data such as credit card numbers. According to the minutes of the complaint, provided by Yahoo!, approximately 11.7 million of these forged emails were sent between December 2006 and May 2009.

Legal proceedings against cyber criminals behind spam are rare, mainly because it is very difficult to identify the origin of the fraudsters. But other Web companies have also obtained favourable decisions, according to the specialised site Zdnet. This is notably the case of the social network MySpace, which obtained 6 million dollars (4.5 million euros) in compensation in 2008, in a spam case.

Yahoo!'s announcement comes as anti-virus vendor Symantec, in its latest report, estimates that spam or junk mail now accounts for 70.5% of global email traffic, its lowest level in years. But as another report by Cisco in June indicated, the number of spam emails is still growing, while mass spamming is declining, counterfeit emails are increasingly personalised and targeted.

Source: LEMONDE.FR with AFP and AP | 08.12.11 

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