The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sanford Wallace banned from MySpace

In March, I reported that Sanford Wallace was being sued by MySpace for — what else — spamming.

Today, the U.K. Register reports that the judge has banned Sanford Wallace and his agents from accessing MySpace in any way. No mention is made in the Register article of any damages — has Wallace effectively gotten away with it?

Interesting point brought up in the article: Even after he was sued, Wallace sent another 110,000 messages from 76,200 hijacked accounts.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

More legal documents in the Soloway case

See Spamsuite for the various documents. In short, search warrants are being issued on various properties associated with Robert Soloway in pursuit of the cash he withdrew from various bank accounts.

Among the places searched were a public storage unit in Washington, property in Minnesota,

Items to be seized include big piles of cash, business records, any correspondance about his businesses, phone books and telephone records, computers and disks, two rolex watches

Interestingly enough, the search also turned up 76 men's coats, jackets and shirts, 27 pairs of shoes, 24 pairs of sunglasses and other retail items.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Rizler documents on line

Last November, Christopher William Smith, known as "Rizler" was convicted of running an illegal online drug operation.

Today, SpamSuite placed the legal documents on-line for all to read. Highlights include Smith's request for a new trial, the detention order placing him in solitary with limited visitation rights, the sentencing document that lists Smith's long career as a scammer.

Long before Christopher Smith established his illegal online pharmacy, he was already an experienced Internet scam artist. Beginning at least in the 1990s, when he was in his teens, and continuing well into his 20s, Smith sold a wide variety of dubious if not outright fraudulent products through large-scale unsolicited email (spam) campaigns. The products Smith spammed included human growth hormones, penis enlargement pills, “phermone” concentrate, and an online gambling casino (in which winners were not paid their winnings). Smith also set up a fake escrow service to receive proceeds from the purported sales of Dell laptops and plasma TVs. Customers who paid Smith never received any product.

On November 20, 2002, one of the victims of his scams, Time Warner, obtained a permanent injunction against Smith, his business at the time, Rizler, Inc., and others from the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Case No. 0:01cv1077 (DDA/FLN)), enjoining them from selling cable TV descramblers which illegally stole cable signals.

While there were very few laws governing spam email campaigns until the CAN-SPAM act was passed in late 2003, Smith nonetheless engaged in a wide-variety of illegal activity surrounding his spamming endeavors. For example, in addition to defrauding customers out of their money as discussed above, Smith stole email accounts and used computer programs to obtain customer account information and passwords. He also set up fake email accounts using stolen credit numbers, and in turn used those fake email accounts to spread his spam.

Other scary information: Smith took in on the order of $24 million, most of which he was able to hide from authorities. He paid $1.1 million in cash for a house. The techniques he used to illegally communicate with his associates from jail are also fascinating. The death threats are a little scary.

Enjoy your weekend everybody.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

MySpace wins permanent injunctions against, Yevgeniy Leshchinskiy, and Marat Nigmatzyanov

Just in from SpamSuite: Marat Nigmatzyanov, Yevgeniy Leshchinskiy and MySpace have agreed to the terms of a permanent injunction. The injunction covers about what you'd expect: Nigmatzyanov, Leshchinskiy, and anybody working with or for them are permanently enjoined from accessing MySpace, from helping anybody else access MySpace illegally, having ownership interest in any entity that attempts to access MySpace illegaly, from phishing MySpace accounts, from helping anybody else phish MySpace accounts, or from having ownership interest in any entity that attempts to phish MySpace accounts.

Meanwhile, Scott Richter has obtained a new local counsel. Documents don't explain why Richter changed lawyers.

See my post from January, Details in the MySpace vs Richter case, for more.

Bonus: A search on Marat Nigmatzyanov turned up this page in which he solicits for assistant spammers to attack Craig's List.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Clever and aggressive Nigerian scam

OK, here's a new one for the books. You have to admire them though.

Here's how this retelling of the classic Spanish Prisoner scam works: somebody breaks into your hotmail account, most likely by phishing. They then send an "emergency" email to everybody on your contacts list claiming to be you. The email says that you were attending a conference in Nigeria, and that you'd lost your passport, tickets and money. The letter asks you to wire some emergency money to your friend in Nigeria. Step three, profit!

See this article in Rediff: Nigeria Calling: Indians Beware.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Mark Ferguson's affidavit and other legal docs in the E360 case

Just a few items worth mentioning from the SpamSuite web site.

Most interesting, is Mark Ferguson's affidavit in support of Spamhaus' motion to dismiss on jurisdiction. Nothing unexpected here; it contains his assertions that he does not live in Illinois or do business there, and that E360Insight was definately sending him spam. Exhibit VII is the most interesting, as it contains a claim from E360 that they had the signup information for Ferguson. The problem is, the alleged signup information uses a bogus IP address, indicating that it was forged after the fact.

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