Feeds

Spam tool developer faces six years in chokey

Ralsky cohort cops a plea

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.