Internet Law

Microsoft Lawyer Devises Trademark Strategy to Fight Botnets, Joins US Marshals in Raid


A former prosecutor who works in the digital crimes unit for Microsoft was among the corporate employees who joined with U.S. marshals on Friday in raids targeting botnets.

The lawyer, Richard Boscovich, devised a legal strategy that argues the people behind botnets, so-called “zombie armies” of computers, are violating Microsoft trademarks through fake emails used to spread malicious software, the New York Times reports.

According to a CNet story on the raids, the botnet operators use Zeus software to show fake websites when users try to access real bank websites, capturing keystrokes to steal money from the victims’ bank accounts. The Zeus creators also sell the botnet code to others, Microsoft says.

Boscovich was among the Microsoft lawyers and employees on Friday who shut down servers in Pennsylvania and Illinois believed to be used in the scheme, according to the Times. A federal judge approved the seizure in a suit filed by Microsoft last week, CNet says. Microsoft alleged trademark violations as well as violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the CAN-SPAM Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

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