Microsoft stands up to Viagra spam

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Microsoft is launching a new partnership with drug company Pfizer to combat Viagra-related spam.

The coming together of the industry giants has climaxed in the filing of 17 lawsuits against spammers attempting to sell Viagra through unsolicited emails.

"Today's actions are the result of initial conversations with Pfizer which began last summer," said Microsoft attorney Aaron Kornblum in a statement on their website. "Pfizer contacted us because they were receiving unwanted attention for email spam advertising Viagra."

According to Kornblum many people were blaming Pfizer for the spam and were unable to distinguish between the real product and fake versions on offer.

"It's like the virus argument," said Alyn Hockey, technical director at internet security company Clearswift. "Some people think that anti-virus companies deliberately sent out viruses. In this case they think its Pfizer trying to increase profit. The real problem arises if someone does buy an unapproved product and it causes some damage. Can Pfizer be taken to court?"

Pfizer will be taking 12 actions and Microsoft a further five, both making use of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (Can-Spam). Spammers targeted include Discount RX, Virtual RX and EzyDrugStore.com.

In recent months Microsoft has been increasingly keen to prosecute internet crime that damages its own business, or that of its customers. In January SC reported Microsoft working with Texas attorney general Greg Abbot in an action against allegedly the world's fourth-largest spam ring.

www.microsoft.com
www.pfizer.com

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