Spam King arrested in Seattle: Does It Matter?
America's number-one spammer has been busted, facing nearly a million dollars' worth of fines and sized assets along with a five-year prison term if convicted. This guy isn't necessarily the author of all those "pr0n" emails that choke your inbox, though: he is the accused provider of email broadcast services and engineer of bot networks, allowing spam and online fraud to circumnavigate the globe. The collateral damage includes mass blocking of certain keywords in subject headers, blocked domains on servers, and tons and tons of unwanted email.
However, this also means that the number-two spammer, whomever that may be, has just been promoted. Between counter-security innovations and haphazard operating-system patches, the Internet is a fertile breeding ground for those willing to make a buck from not only spam but botnets and zombified PCs. Even if Soloway is convicted, the real-world result of this bust is quite unclear.
A 27-year-old man, dubbed the Spam King by investigators, has been arrested in Seattle where he has been indicted on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, fraud in connection with electronic mail, and money laundering.
Robert Alan Soloway owned Newport Internet Marketing Corporation (NIM) based in Seattle. He will appear before Seattle's district court this afternoon.
Soloway is accused, between 2003 and 2007, of offering broadcast email services which sent messages with false headers and were relayed using networks of proxy computers or botnets.
Much of this service was fraudulent - including the claim that email addresses on the lists had "opted-in" to receive such offers.
Guarantees regarding the products offered were not honoured and refunds refused. Soloway is also accused of constantly moving his websites to make anti-spam measures more difficult. Since last year his websites have been registered with Chinese ISPs to make proving his ownership of domains more difficult.
The false headers he put on emails led many people to have their legitimate email addresses or domains blacklisted by anti-spam groups.