Legal success against notorious spammers

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Dec 1, 2009

Atkinson to pay huge fine; Ralsky to spend years in prison.

US judges have sentenced two notorious spammers to a huge fine and years of imprisonment, respectively.

Yesterday, a US Federal judge sentenced Lance Atkinson, a New Zealand citizen residing in Australia, to a fine of more than 15 million US dollars.

Atkinson was the ringleader of a group known as Herbal King that used botnets to send billions of messages spamvertising cheap medicine. By using false headers and failing to provide both an opt-out link and a physical postal address, the messages violated the CAN-SPAM Act. Moreover, the group made false claims about the medicine they sold and about the security of transactions made on their website.

Atkinson's co-defendant, US resident Jody Smith, has been ordered to turn over almost all of his assets and faces up to five years in prison.

The news comes shortly after the announcement that another judge had sentenced Alan Ralsky - known as 'the Godfather of spam' - to 51 months in prison. Ralsky played a central role in a pump-and-dump scheme that attempted to increase the value of thinly traded stocks. In June, he pleaded guilty to his part in the scheme, that is reported to have made him $3 million in just 18 months.

More on the Herbal King case is at M86 Security here with the FTC's press release here, while The Register's report on the Ralsky case is here. The relevant entries in Spamhaus's Register Of Known Spam Operations are here and here, respectively.

Posted on 01 December 2009 by Virus Bulletin


spam legal


Latest posts:

VBSpam tests to be executed under the AMTSO framework

VB is excited to announce that, starting from the Q3 test, all VBSpam tests of email security products will be executed under the AMTSO framework.

In memoriam: Prof. Ross Anderson

We were very sorry to learn of the passing of Professor Ross Anderson a few days ago.

In memoriam: Dr Alan Solomon

We were very sorry to learn of the passing of industry pioneer Dr Alan Solomon earlier this week.

New paper: Nexus Android banking botnet – compromising C&C panels and dissecting mobile AppInjects

In a new paper, researchers Aditya K Sood and Rohit Bansal provide details of a security vulnerability in the Nexus Android botnet C&C panel that was exploited in order to gather threat intelligence, and present a model of mobile AppInjects.

New paper: Collector-stealer: a Russian origin credential and information extractor

In a new paper, F5 researchers Aditya K Sood and Rohit Chaturvedi present a 360 analysis of Collector-stealer, a Russian-origin credential and information extractor.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.