Feeds

Former 'Spam King' pays MS $7m to settle lawsuit

Going straight

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Website security in corporate America

Former 'Spam King' Scott Richter has agreed to pay Microsoft $7m to settle an anti-spam lawsuit. The settlement to a December 2003 lawsuit comes a month after Richter - long ranked one of the world's top three spammers - was removed from the Register of Known Spam Operators maintained by the Spamhaus Project. Richter was dropped from the ROKSO list after his outfit OptInRealBig.com cleaned up its act and stopped sending out junk mail that violated US anti-spam rules.

The settlement (announced Tuesday) is conditioned upon dismissal of the bankruptcy cases filed in March by Richter and OptInRealBig at the US Bankruptcy Court in Denver, itself a defensive move prompted by the massive damages a court might have awarded Microsoft if the case had gone to trial. Richter and his company have agreed to pay $7m to Microsoft. The settlement also stipulates that Richter, his company and his affiliates will continue to comply with US federal and state anti-spam laws, such as the CAN-SPAM Act. Richter has also agreed to three years of oversight.

We're in the money

Microsoft has ear-marked $5m of the settlement to expand its net security partnerships with governments and law enforcement agencies worldwide through various training, investigative and forensic assistance initiatives. The software giant is giving $1m to New York community centres to spend in computers. Microsoft doesn't say where the other $1m is going but our guess would be legal fees.

Richter was sued by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and brought to the brink of bankruptcy by Microsoft over allegations he used a network of 500 compromised computers to send millions of junk emails to hapless Hotmail users. Richter settled the NY lawsuit last July by agreeing to comply with CAN-SPAM and to shell out a modest $50K fine but that still left Microsoft's action hanging over his head.

In its lawsuit, Microsoft contended that Richter and his companies violated Washington and federal law by sending junk mail that contained "forged sender names, false subject lines, fake server names, inaccurate and misrepresented sender addresses and obscured transmission paths". Some of these spam messages touted home loans and the like were allegedly sent via compromised PCS.

Richter and OptInRealBig.com continue to deny these allegations but the terms of the settlement oblige Richter to provide a canned quote anyway stating that he'd changed his emailing practices "in part" because Microsoft and the New York Attorney General sued him. "In response to Microsoft’s and the New York Attorney General’s lawsuits, we made significant changes to OptInRealBig.com’s emailing practices and have paid a heavy price. I am committed to sending email only to those who have requested it and to complying fully with all federal and state anti-spam laws," Richter said.

Microsoft’s SVP and general counsel, Brad Smith, commented that because of this litigation, Richter had "fundamentally changed his practices and forfeited ill-gotten gains". He added that Microsoft will continue to combat spam through a combination of technology, consumer education and enforcement. ®

Related stories

Spam king surrenders his ignoble crown
US tops junk mail list of shame - again
Lawsuits drive 'Spam King' Richter to bankruptcy
Spam King dodges $20m big stick
'Spam King' Richter get legal roasting
'Spam King' gets restraining order against SpamCop

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
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...
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
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.