Feeds

FTC fines porn spammers $112k

A small price to pay?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Website security in corporate America

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has settled charges with Brian Westby and Dutch citizen Martijn Bevelander, who employed spam that used deceptively bland subject lines, false return addresses, and empty reply-to links to expose unsuspecting consumers, including children, to sexually explicit material.

The US agency alleged that Westby and Bevelander used the spam in an attempt to drive business to an adult website called "Married But Lonely". The two spammers used every trick in the book to mislead Internet users. When consumers clicked on a hyperlink in an attempt to get off the mailing list, they would receive an error message, so they could not unsubscribe.

The settlement prohibits the use of false subject lines and false header information in e-mails and requires that both men cough up $112,500 of their ill-gotten gains. Westby will pay $87,500 and Bevelander the remaining $25,000. The settlement also stipulates record keeping provisions to allow the FTC to monitor compliance.

The FTC settlement - which relates to activities predating the new CAN-SPAM act - has prompted immediate criticism among campaigners who fear that such a low fine will encourage other spammers to simply budget for penalties. Bevelander's career in the Dutch Internet business, however, appears to be virtually over. He is still in his early twenties, and left school at 17 to start his own Internet company, often citing Scrooge as his main inspiration. ®

Related stories

SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT: FTC labels porno spam
EC seeks to stamp out Net child porn, racism and spam
UUNet tops spammer-hosting super league
Sex, drugs and cans of spam
US spammer fined $75k for porn sting

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.