Large-scale phishing operations now have Microsoft to fear, who are filing 117 lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle against the alleged perpetrators in such illicit business. The targets this time are people who are suspected of using Hotmail to trick consumers into handing over financial information. Naturally, Microsoft does not see the funny side of that one.

"The Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate, transact business and educate ourselves. We must work together to stop these con artists from misusing the Internet as a tool for fraud." - Aaron Kornblum, Internet Safety Enforcement attorney at Microsoft.

"Phishing is more than a dirty trick played on unsuspecting consumers -- it's a serious identity theft problem. In little over a year, it's become one of the top scams reported to our National Fraud Information Center and Internet Fraud Watch program." - Lydia Parnes, acting director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.