Feeds

Man cops to botnet-fueled pump-and-dump scheme

Securities fraud in the digital age

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

An Arizona computer specialist has admitted taking part in a conspiracy that used large networks of compromised computers to inflate the value of stocks so they could later be sold at a profit.

James Bragg, 41, of Chandler, Arizona, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and fraud, prosecutors said. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. It wasn't immediately clear when sentencing is to take place.

According to court documents, Bragg was hired to pump the value of two over-the-counter stocks by blasting the internet with promotional email. He in turn hired people to use botnets to distribute the messages to improve the chances they wouldn't be caught by spam filters. The botnets were also used to compromise online brokerage accounts so they could be used to buy up large blocks of the two stocks. He also falsified the headers of the emails, in violation of various laws outlawing spam.

In December 2007, Bragg sent a Skype message to a Texas man identified only as C.R. who acted as a middleman between stock promotors and the email spammers. It reported that the spam campaign for one of the companies was “runnin hard hitting inbox on gmail, hot, yahoo, fusemail” and “should be hitting others as well.”

Bragg also agreed to trade the manipulated stocks among members of the conspiracy in an attempt to give the impression they were being actively traded on the open market. The scam began as early as November 2007 and continued through February 2009.

Bragg, who spent much of his time in Thailand, pleaded guilty to separate spam offenses in 2009 alongside notorious pump-and-dump spammer Alan Ralsky. ®

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
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
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.