Feeds

Spam tool developer faces six years in chokey

Ralsky cohort cops a plea

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A US software writer has pleaded guilty to developing a botnet-based spamming tool used by notorious spammer Alan Ralsky.

David S Patton, 49, of Centreville, Virginia, faces up to six years in prison after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting breaches of the US CAN-SPAM Act in concert with Ralsky and others. Patton agreed to forfeit an estimated $50,100 from sales of spamming tools called Nexus and Proxy Scanner, as well as paying a nominal fine of $3,000.

Between January 2004 until September 2005, Patton developed and marketing his illegal bulk mailing tools via a firm called Lightspeed Marketing. Nexus was designed to falsify the headers of spam messages while Proxy Scanner was designed to channel junk mail through compromised zombie proxies, typically PCs in either homes or businesses infected with Trojan horse malware.

Patton is the 12th defendant charged over involvement in a pump-and-dump stock price scam operation masterminded by Ralsky, which was dismantled following a three year FBI-led investigation. The fraud - which grossed an estimated $3m in just 18 months - involved inflating the price of thinly-traded stocks owned by people based in China and Hong Kong.

Detroit-based recidivist fraudster Ralsky, who copped a plea last month, faces up to seven years behind bars over the scam.

In related cybercrime news, Indian citizen Jaisankar Marimuthu, 34, was extradited from Hong Kong to the US on June 20 where he faces charges of hacking into online brokerage accounts in order to artificially inflate the value of low-value stock he held. He entered a not guilty plea on 25 June.

Marimuhu is one of three people accused of hacking into brokerages include E*Trade and TD Ameritrade and creating 60 false accounts using stolen identities in 2006. Fraudulent trades made through these accounts raked up losses of more than $2m, Computerworld reports.

A DoJ statement, which provides more background on the alleged "hack, pump and dump" scam, can be found here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.