Microsoft aims legal guns at malvertising

The battle between the software industry and malware purveyors was just ratcheted up a notch. Microsoft (MSFT) filed five civil lawsuits on Thursday, which the software giant says it hopes will deter malware scams in the future. Sometimes called "malvertising," it's a method used by scammers to convince consumers to buy unneeded software or to install malicious software through Internet advertising.

Malvertising has disrupted many companies, with the New York Times' website getting hit by the fake ads on Saturday. The newspaper was forced to suspend all its third-party Web advertising while it cleared up the problem.