Three indicted in U.S. spam crackdown
Group called one of the top sources of unsolicited e-mail
IDG News Service - Three people accused of sending massive amounts of spam face possible prison sentences after being indicted by a grand jury in Arizona and accused of violating the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003 and other charges, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
Named in the indictment are Jennifer R. Clason, 32, and James R. Schaffer, 39, of Arizona, and Jeffrey A. Kilbride, 39, of California. The three are accused of sending unsolicited e-mails that advertised pornographic Web sites, the Justice Department said in a statement. They could make money from commissions that the Web sites paid in return for directing traffic to their sites, the statement said.
The defendant's operation was ranked as one of the 200 largest sources of spam on the Internet by The Spamhaus Project Ltd., a group that tracks and battles against spam. America Online Inc. received more than 600,000 complaints between late January and early June last year related to spam from the operation, the Justice Department said. The actual number of users who received spam from the operation could be in the tens of millions, it said.
"Each of those people [in the Spamhaus listing] sends out several million spams a day," said Suresh Ramasubramanian, who heads antispam operations at e-mail outsourcing company Outblaze Ltd.
He said the defendants' operation worked by buying large amounts of Internet bandwidth from major service providers. With the purchase, they would also get large blocks of IP addresses, and the defendants would then send spam to the Internet from a small portion of the addresses they had. Once the addresses were blocked by antispam systems, they would start using different addresses until the pattern was recognized and they were terminated by their Internet service provider. They would then go to a new service provider and start all over again.
"They were quite big in terms of volume but a static target," he said. "Like a huge firehose of porn spam blasting right at you but from a single large source. That'd change each time they got kicked off an ISP."
The e-mails allegedly contained pornographic images, so felony obscenity offenses for transmission of hard-core pornographic images have also been leveled against the defendants, the Justice Department said.
Specifically, all three have been charged with two counts of fraud and related activity in connection with e-mail under the CAN-SPAM Act and one count of criminal conspiracy.
Kilbride and Schaffer are also charged with two counts of interstate transportation of obscene material using an interactive computer service, two counts
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