Facebook launches $2m phishing suit


Rory O'Neill

Facebook launches $2m phishing suit

PK studio / Shutterstock.com

Facebook has invoked trademark law to target the operators of alleged phishing sites which imitate the social media platform and its subsidiary Instagram.

In a lawsuit filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California yesterday, October 28 Facebook accused domain registration company OnlineNIC and its “alter ego” ID Shield of trademark infringement and cybersquatting.

According to the suit, OnlineNIC has registered domains for the purposes of phishing and purporting to sell hacking tools.

Facebook cited a list of 20 infringing domains, including hackingfacebook.net; hacksomeonesfacebook.com; buyinstagramfans.com; and iiinstagram.com.

Each of the domains was registered by ID Shield, a company Facebook says is controlled by OnlineNIC.

“ID Shield trafficked in the infringing domain names by licensing these domain names either to OnlineNIC for its use or to OnlineNIC’s customers for their use,” the suit claimed.

In 2008, Verizon was awarded $33 million in damages after suing OnlineNIC for infringement and cybersquatting.

Facebook said that OnlineNIC’s history demonstrated a “bad faith intent to profit” off others’ IP.

The social media platform is seeking $2 million in damages; $100,000 per infringing domain.

Facebook, phishing, OnlineNIC, ID Shield, Verizon, social media, Instagram

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