Sanford was indicted on July 6 on six counts of electronic mail fraud, three counts of intentional damage to a protected computer and two counts of criminal contempt.
The indictment filed in San Jose federal court said Wallace compromised about 500,000 Facebook accounts between November 2008 and March 2009 by sending massive amounts of spam through the company’s servers on three separate occasions.
If convicted the Spam-King could face more than 40 years in prison for federal fraud and computer tampering.
According to the indictment, Wallace would collect Facebook user account information by sending “phishing” messages and would thereafter log into the phished Facebook accounts which he would use to spread spam messages. Friends of those phished accounts would then inadvertently click the link and land on websites that paid Wallace for the internet traffic.
Wallace’s particular method of spamming people can really bring in a lot of heat, especially if it involves essentially hacking into accounts and using them to spam people. That’s a whole different level of annoyance — but probably far ahead of people tagging you on pictures of merchandise/advertisements or people asking your repeatedly to join a contest for a blog.
Lorelle Vonfossen recently wrote about ways to avoid being a victim of cyber crime and here’s a concise list of what not to do:
The first step is prevention. As a rule, don’t open email and delete all blog comments that look suspicious. Never click on a link that looks suspicious. Keep your web browser upgraded and patched to ensure your protection from attacks from malicious websites.
Pay close attention to detail. Never give out passwords, usernames, or private information. Never publish your email, phone, or contact information unless you want to invite a response from anyone and anything.
If you won’t do it in your offline life, don’t do it online.
In other countries where spamming is hardly restrained by laws and implementing agencies, spammers can get away with offering prizes or promotional contests that aren’t even registered with the proper government agencies. More often than not, the prizes and contests only form part of a ruse to induce people to visit a site and the prize or contests are essentially dubious because there is no way to see whether the mechanics (if there are any) had been administered honestly.
Perhaps the next lower level of spammers are those who aren’t even licensed or have permission to offer certain products and services — skin whiteners, herbal sex supplements, fat reducing pills, real estate, etcetera…
In several countries in Asia, for example, government agencies are cracking down on sellers of skin whiteners which contain toxic amounts of mercury and most these skin whiteners have been appearing as spam on walls of dark skinned Asians. I don’t know just how successful if these skin whitening campaigns have been successful though because I haven’t noticed a spike in the number of crazy, white people on the streets.
Paul Farol is a Filipino writer and blogger currently based in Manila. He is currently a media practitioner and is involved in community development projects in Northern and Southern Luzon, Philippines.