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#Facebook #Spam King Pleads #Guilty to Sending 27 Million #Messages

Business Insider
Despite consistent advances in blocking, tracking and filtration technology online, spam is still a problem. Recently on Facebook, there have been a spate of circular spam posts spread through unauthorised messaging and link sharing. Have you seen anyone sharing a post recently featuring a comic strip of a man and a woman undressing as if about to have sex? Yeah, don't click that.

Typically, if you follow the trail back far enough, you'll find that all the spamming is coming from a single person, likely motivated by money, boredom or possibly even some kind of latent psychopathy. One such individual, Las Vegas man Sanford Wallace, otherwise known as the Spam King, has just plead guilty to hijacking over 500,000 Facebook accounts. Using these accounts, he posted over 27 million spam messages on people's walls. This took place over a 5 month period between 2008 and 2009.

He's facing 11 different charges for the scheme, including violating a court order not to access Facebook's servers and could be looking at anything up to a $250,000 fine and 3 years in prison. That might seem pretty disproportionately extreme, but even if that's what he gets, it won't be the largest sentence ever dished out for spamming in the US. In 2005 Jeremy Jaynes was brought before court in Virginia on very similar charges, he was said to have been firing out 10 million emails a day via a hacked AOL server. He got sentenced to 9 years in prison.

There are dozens of equally, if not more prolific spammers at large across the world. Many of them would likely face even more harsh sentences than that if they were ever caught. A Spamhaus report back in 2006 revealed that 80% of the world's spam could be traced back to a mere 200 people, most of them coming from the USA and Russia, and the remainder largely in Ukraine, Israel, Hong Kong and Canada.

Perhaps the most notorious spamming group in history are a Russian group called Pavka/Artofit, who primarily use bots and have been known to circulate child porn in the past. Both number 1 and number 2 on the most wanted spamming list, 'Alex' and Leo Kuvayev have been affiliated with them. Neither one has ever been caught or identified.

Wallace isn't anywhere near at that level, but he's still one of the most significant spammers in recent memory. He's been rolling out new spamming schemes to fit whatever mode of communication was prevalent at the time since the early 90s when he ran an email and fax scheme. In 2007 he was dragged into a lengthy court battle with MySpace after getting caught mining user login data to send people ads for gambling and pornographic material. He also went to court over spyware charges.The nickname 'Spamford' Wallace certainly fits, but he clearly doesn't have the same aptitude for anonymity as his contemporaries. It might just be that he likes the attention, though.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#Facebook #Spam King Pleads #Guilty to Sending 27 Million #Messages Reviewed by Callum Davies on Saturday, August 29, 2015 Rating: 5

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