Feeds

MySpace wins record $230m judgement against spammers

'Spamford' Wallace hauled over the coals

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

MySpace has won a $230 million anti-spam judgment against notorious spammer Sanford Wallace and his partner Walter Rines. US District Judge Audrey Collins made the order - reckoned to be the largest ever in an anti-spam case - after the duo failed to appear in court.

The pair were found responsible for orchestrating a phishing scam designed to harvest MySpace login credentials, prior to bombarding members with messages punting gambling and smut websites. As many as 730,000 bogus messages, rigged to appear as though they came from their friends, were sent to MySpace members, AP reports.

MySpace said the messages generated hundreds of complaints as well as incurring delivery-related costs. Some of the spam touted pornographic websites, adding insult to injury by indiscriminately appearing in the inboxes of teens as well as adults. The scam began in late 2006 and netted at least $555,850, according to court papers.

The attack was traced back to Wallace and Rines, prompting a March 2007 lawsuit from MySpace. Last month the social networking website obtained a default judgement against the pair, who never defended the case.

Under the CAN-SPAM Act each message can earn a fine of up to $100, tripled in cases where anti-spam rules are flagrantly disregarded. The judge awarded the full amount claimed by MySpace along with lawyers' fees. Rines and Wallace were jointly fined $160.4m for violations of CAN-SPAM, while Rines was fined an additional $63.4m. The duo were also fined a much more modest $1.5m for violations of California's anti-phishing law and ordered to pay $4.7m in legal fees.

Myspace's chances of recovering any money from the duo appear to range from slim to none. Nonetheless, the social networking website reckons the judgement will serve as a deterrent against other would-be spammers.

In May 2006, Wallace and his firm Smartbot.net were ordered by a federal court to pay fines of $4m over a spyware-related scam prosecuted by the Federal Trade Commission. As previously reported, FTC lawyers have asked a federal judge overseeing this settlement to find Wallace and his cohorts in contempt for violating the terms of the settlement agreement.

Wallace moved to Las Vegas in 2004 in an effort to get into nightclub promotion and DJ work. His present whereabouts are unknown.

MySpace has another high-profile anti-spam case pending against another notorious junk mail merchant, Scott Richter, who faces similar accusations - he is accused of employing illicit tactics to break into MySpace profiles before spamming its members with junk. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
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
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.