Feeds

Texas sues student 'spammer' for $2m

World's 'fourth worst' junk emailer

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Seven Steps to Software Security

Texan authorities launched federal suit yesterday against a University of Texas student alleged to have run one of the world's largest spam operations.

Ryan Samuel Pitylak, 22, and alleged accomplice Mark Stephen Trotter of Encinitas, California are accused of sending hundreds of thousands of junk mail messages through two firms they ran, PayPerAction and Leadplex. The pair are said to have specialised in spam messages hawking mortgage refinancing and other financial services designed to trick users into handing over personal information which the pair sold on for up to $28 a lead. Spamhaus ranks the defendants as the fourth largest illegal spam operation in the world in its Register of Known Spam Operations.

These spam messages often came with misleading subject lines and bogus sources, opening up the case for prosecution under the CAN-SPAM Act. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also accuses the duo of violations of state laws, namely the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Texas Electronic Mail Solicitation Act. Texan authorities worked with Microsoft and others to set up "spam traps" that allowed investigators to track the source of the junk mail back to PayPerAction and Leadplex.

If proven, the allegations against the pair could result in fines of more than $2m. They deny the charges.

Lin Hughes, the lawyer representing Pitylak and Trotter, said two defendants sold their stake in Leadplex and PayPerAction in March 2004 to Hong Kong-based Eastmark Technology, a firm also named in the suit. She said her clients remained consultants to Leadplex and PayPerAction who are "legitimate Internet marketing companies in compliance with the federal law", according to local press reports. ®

Related stories

Malware, spam prompts mass net turn off
UK firm fingered in US XXX spam probe
'Spamford' Wallace agrees to stop spyware assault
MS moves to can more spammers
US ISP wins $1bn damages from spammers

Links

Statement from office of Texas Attorney General Abbott: First Texas Lawsuit for Violations of E-mail Spam Laws

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.