The man who, between 2008 and 2009, stole the log-in credentials of Facebook users to spread his credential-stealing web links, has been sentenced to some hard time.
Sanford Wallace, a habitual spammer with a long history of spreading the irritating garbage to unwilling recipients, will be spending two and a half years in prison in addition to paying a fine of $310,629.
Wallace’s modus operandi involved sending his victims a link to an external site that would steal both their credentials to log in as well as their compiled friend lists. To do so, he utilized the aliases of David and Laura Frederix and 1,500 falsified domains. Once he claimed their data, his message could be sent to members of the friend list from the victims’ accounts, creating a system that expanded exponentially as more and more fell prey to the spammer’s trap. This trap, by the way, turned Wallace a profit; he was able to send links to other websites and was then paid for generating traffic to them.
This system resulted in a total of 27 million spam messages being dispersed to over 550,000 Facebook users.
While this was Wallace’s first conviction, it was not his first spam-related offense. His experience with the widely-reviled junk mail reaches back to 1995 when he established his company Cyber Promotions as part of a junk fax campaign. He also had lost multiple civil cases from bigwigs such as Facebook, the FTC, and others. Wallace was held in contempt after he failed to abide by three court orders issued in 2009, barring him from ever again visiting Facebook.
Upon his release, Wallace faces an additional five years of probation, along with court-ordered mental health treatment. And, almost certainly for the best, Wallace has been barred from owning or using a computer without the express permission of his probation officer, although only time will tell if that ultimately makes a difference.
Lessons From the Spam King
Hackers and malware distributors can be frustratingly persistent in their attempts to cause grief. As a result, you need to stay just as persistent in your defense and vigilance against these threats. Here are a few tips on how to do just that:
Nobody likes being spammed, so it’s everyone’s duty to avoid helping spammers like Sanford Wallace in their attempts to do just that. For more tips on this and other IT matters, subscribe to our blog.