There was a big win for the good guys against the bad guys this week. On December 13, 2023, after obtaining an order from the federal court in the Southern District of New York to seize U.S. based infrastructure and take offline websites used by a group Microsoft identifies as Storm-1152, Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit disrupted:

  • Hotmailbox.me, a website selling fraudulent Microsoft Outlook accounts
  • 1stCAPTCHA, AnyCAPTCHA, and NoneCAPTCHA, websites that facilitate the tooling, infrastructure, and selling of the CAPTCHA solve service to bypass the confirmation of use and account setup by a real person. These sites sold identity verification bypass tools for other technology platforms
  • The social media sites actively used to market these services

The takedown is impressive and outlined in detail by Amy Hogan-Burney, General Manager, Associate General Counsel, Cybersecurity Policy & Protection at Microsoft. According to Hogan-Burney, “Fraudulent online accounts act as the gateway to a host of cybercrime, including mass phishing, identity theft and fraud, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.” She issues a missive to cybercriminals, “We are sending a strong message to those who seek to create, sell or distribute fraudulent Microsoft products for cybercrime: We are watching, taking notice and will act to protect our customers.” You go, Microsoft!

Photo of Linn Foster Freedman Linn Foster Freedman

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She is a member of the Business Litigation Group and the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team, and chair’s the firm’s Data Privacy and Security Team. Linn focuses her practice on…

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She is a member of the Business Litigation Group and the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team, and chair’s the firm’s Data Privacy and Security Team. Linn focuses her practice on compliance with all state and federal privacy and security laws and regulations. She counsels a range of public and private clients from industries such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine and charitable organizations, on state and federal data privacy and security investigations, as well as emergency data breach response and mitigation. Linn is an Adjunct Professor of the Practice of Cybersecurity at Brown University and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law.  Prior to joining the firm, Linn served as assistant attorney general and deputy chief of the Civil Division of the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Rhode Island. She earned her J.D. from Loyola University School of Law and her B.A., with honors, in American Studies from Newcomb College of Tulane University. She is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Read her full rc.com bio here.