Tools:Print|E-mail Us|Most Popular
U.S. arrests "Spam King," spam goes up 8% 2007-06-13 13:28:09
  Adjust font size:

    BEIJING, June 13 (Xinhuanet) -- On May 30, U.S. Department of Justice agents arrested a man they called the Spam King and he was arraigned in a Seattle courtroom on charges of mail fraud, fraud in connection with electronic mail, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

    The week after Richard Alan Soloway was incarcerated, the flow of spam rose 8 percent.

    Communications security firm Postini Inc. of San Carlos, California, which publishes the number of spam it filters for its clients on an ongoing basis, tallied 2.8 billion spams over the most recent seven-day period, as opposed to 2.6 billion in the seven days previous to that when the Spam King was still at large.

    According to data tabulated by the London-based Spamhaus Project, an international anti-spam organization, about 80 percent of the world's spam is generated by about 130 separate spammers or gangs. Soloway was on the list, but he was not in the Top 10, which consists of four Russians, two Ukrainians, an Israeli, an Australian, an American, and a Hong Kong resident.

    So how much profit can there be in sending out torrents of spam scams using misspelled words?

    "The vast majority of recipients throw it away, but spam is so cheap to send that the spammers can make money even with an infinitesimally small response rate maybe one in a million," John Levine of Trumansburg, New York, co-author of "Fighting Spam for Dummies," told LiveScience. "Soloway supported himself for years sending spam, and reportedly made 700,000 U.S. dollars per year at it."

    While e-mail does away with the expense of envelopes, paper, and stamps, spammers also use other people's computers infected machines that spew out spam in the background, Levine explained. Doing so multiplies the amount of spam they can send, to the point that they can send millions of messages daily. The tactic also makes it harder to track the original spammer down.

    Some of the larger spammers listed by Spamhaus also specialize in pump-and-dump schemes, where they send out spam touting a little-known stock that they have bought. Almost invariably, enough recipients buy it so that the price goes up, allowing the spammer to sell at a profit.


Editor: Gareth Dodd
Tools:Print|E-mail Us|Most Popular
Related Stories
Hong Kong to implement new ordinance to control spam problem
Home Sci/Tech
  Back to Top