Feeds

Spammers feel the pinch from Feds

Sanctions against botnet operators

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Federal Trade Commission, the US consumer rights watchdog, has succeeded in shutting down four illegal spamming operations judged to have breached federal anti-spam laws. Targets of the lawsuits included an operation that offered the supposed chance to "date lonely wives" and two outfits that allegedly bombarded unwilling recipients with lurid ads for pornographic web sites, sent via compromised PCs.

Cleverlink Trading Limited and its affiliates agreed to pay a fine of $400,000 to settle FTC charges that their lonely housewives spam violated federal law, by featuring misleading headers and deceptive subject lines, contained no opt-out positions or any disclosure that email contained sexually explicit content. Injunctions against further transactions of the CAN-SPAM Act and Adult Labeling Rules were imposed against Cleverlink and its affiliates: Real World Media, Brian D. Muir, Jesse Goldberg, and Caleb Wolf Wickman. The settlement obliges Cleverlink to monitor its affiliates so as to guard against further transgressions against anti-spam laws.

In a separate suit, the FTC charged that Zachary Kinion sent spam hawking adult sites, cut-price mortgage deals, and supposed privacy software. He allegedly paid other miscreants to send spam messages for him through the compromised machines of innocent third-parties. A settlement announced this week bars Kinion from sending emails that violate the CAN-SPAM Act. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $151,000, the estimated revenue he raked in from his illegal spamming, suspended because Kinion is broke.

Another spam operation, targeted by the FTC lawsuits, used zombie botnet networks of compromised PCs to hide the source of the sexually explicit spam. The FTC's settlement with William Dugger, Angelina Johnson, and John Vitale calls for the defendants to hand over $8,000 in ill-gotten gains accrued from their anti-social spamming operation, as well as agreeing to avoid further violation of federal anti-spam laws.

Lastly, the fourth lawsuit targeted a professional "button pusher" who used spam to drive traffic to Web sites run by third parties. In order to conceal the source of ads for porno web sites and drugs, Brian McMullen (trading as BM Entertainment and B Pimp) sent junk mail through compromised Windows PCs, a clear violation of the CAN-SPAM Act. A settlement reached between the FTC and McMullen bars future CAN-SPAM violations and imposes a judgment of $24,193, suspended based on McMullen's inability to pay. In addition to this civil lawsuit settlement, McMullen has pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to spam and unauthorized possession of credit cards. He currently is awaiting sentencing for these offences. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.