Feeds

AOL techie jailed for selling email database to spammers

Hard time for 'dumb' crime

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

A former AOL engineer was sent to jail for 15 months yesterday after he confessed to stealing 92m screen names and email addresses belonging to an estimated 30m AOL members and selling them to spammers.

Jason Smathers, 25, was sentenced on Wednesday after pleading guilty in February to conspiracy and theft charges and to violation of federal anti-spam laws. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein also ordered Smathers to pay $83,000 in compensation or three times the $28,000 he made flogging off AOL screen names and email addresses to a spammer, named in court as Sean Dunaway, 22, of Las Vegas.

USA Today reports that Dunaway used the addresses to promote a net gambling business prior selling them on to other junk mailers for $52,000, who subsequently bombarded AOL members with penis pill offers and other assorted tat. Criminal charges against Dunaway are pending, the paper reports.

Smathers might have faced up to 15 years in jail and a $500K fine prior to a plea bargaining agreement earlier this year1. Smathers' lawyer, Jeffrey Hoffman, described his client's actions as a "dumb, stupid, insane act" that he now profoundly regrets. "I know I've done something very wrong," Smathers told Judge Hellerstein prior to sentencing. The judge accepted that Smathers had demonstrated genuine contrition and refused a probation request to prohibit Smathers from working as a software engineer after his release. ®

1 Smathers original plea-bargaining agreement in December 2004 was refused because a judge wasn't convinced what crime, if any, had been committed. Techdirt reports that Judge Hellerstein made this ruling even though he'd cancelled his AOL account because of too much spam.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
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.
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?