No Spam

(AP) — A 27-year-old man described as one of the world’s most prolific spammers was arrested Wednesday, and federal authorities said computer users across the Web could notice a decrease in the amount of junk e-mail.

Robert Alan Soloway is accused of using networks of compromised “zombie” computers to send out millions upon millions of spam e-mails.

“He’s one of the top 10 spammers in the world,” said Tim Cranton, a Microsoft Corp. lawyer who is senior director of the company’s Worldwide Internet Safety Programs. “He’s a huge problem for our customers. This is a very good day.”

A federal grand jury last week returned a 35-count indictment against Soloway charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

Soloway pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon to all charges after a judge determined that – even with four bank accounts seized by the government – he was sufficiently well off to pay for his own lawyer.

Prosecutors say Soloway used computers infected with malicious code to send out millions of junk e-mails since 2003. The computers are called “zombies” because owners typically have no idea their machines have been infected.

One down, many to go. Hope that scumbag gets put away for a long time.
Found by Bubba Martin


  1. Dale Huber says:

    So they must have information on where all his zombie machines are. Is it not possible to send out a mass email (spam them) to the owners and tell them they have a problem and need to fix their machines?

  2. venom monger says:

    Is it not possible to send out a mass email (spam them) to the owners and tell them they have a problem and need to fix their machines?

    Possible? Probably. Practical? Probably not. Anyway, the feds are keeping the botnets up so they can use them to spy on people.

    Har har. Just kidding.

  3. TVAddict says:

    I have noticed a marked decrease in spam at our mail server over the last 24 hours. If one person has that much affect, maybe if they can find one or two more spam would become manageable. On the other hand this is our government and they have problems finding their own collective asses.

  4. Mac Guy says:

    #3 – Totally irrelevant. Just because they arrested the cause of the zombied machines doesn’t mean the machines still aren’t banging away at your servers. “Must’ve been a starquake.”

  5. Gig says:

    Let’s send him to China so they can execute him.

  6. KagatoAMV says:

    “aggravated identity theft “? I’m guessing I’d be aggravated if my ID got stolen, but I’m curious what “aggravated identity theft ” is vs “identity theft “

  7. Andrew says:

    Wow, big reduction in spam today.
    Checking my email I only had 18 spams instead of 45…big deal.

  8. tallwookie says:

    what? you dont use spam filters?

  9. Les says:

    1 down, 3 to fill his space.

  10. Greg Allen says:

    Maybe you guys can answer this question for me:

    How do spammers like this guy do business? They have to find clients, negotiate prices, receive funds, etc. Shouldn’t they be relatively easy to get with a sting operation?

  11. mark says:

    10. One would think that would be the case. I mean, they can track anything these days, it just doesnt make sense that they couldnt get all the spammers, its probably Bin Laden doing it.

  12. BubbaRay says:

    #10, Greg, the spam always refers back to the originating spammer, in this case Robert Soloway. Steve Gibson proposed an anti-spam bot that could be easily targeted to the originating zombie machines and automatically disinfect them, but he correctly states that this cure would be as illegal as the original infectious software. What a catch-22.

    Why not allow good bots on the net that can disinfect our machines with our permission?

  13. bobbo says:

    Why aren’t the companies that use spam also liable? They are dead simple to spot? I send them email saying since I got their spam, I will look solely to their competitors for product, but for some reason, I still get spam.

    Somebody ain’t doin their jobs!!!

  14. Les says:

    #13 are you serious? You have just confirmed your email adress for them!

  15. MSwanberg says:

    #1 and #2, no that’s not practical, nor is it really very possible. All they have, possibly, is a list of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of IP addresses. They would have to take each spam message, check out the header, get the originating REAL IP address (not any spoofed ones) and the time it was relayed, then subpoena each address’ ISP to find out who was using the address at that time, then attempt to get an email address for that person (which would also mean a subpoena to the ISP), and even then what? I can tell you, if you subpoenaed my ISP for my email address, it wouldn’t get you my REAL email address that I use.

    Probably the best thing would be to gather the IP addresses and get the ISPs to cut them off so that they have to call in to get reconnected, at which point they could be informed that their machines have been co-opted and they need to clean them before they can be re-connected. But that would probably bring a huge backlash from consumers.

    -Mike

  16. John Paradox says:

    Steve Gibson proposed an anti-spam bot that could be easily targeted to the originating zombie machines and automatically disinfect them, but he correctly states that this cure would be as illegal as the original infectious software. What a catch-22.

    Actually, he was talking about worms on ‘legacy’ machines (servers in closets type of thing, notably the Government and University machines that got infected somehow). I like the concept, but it has its problems, too.
    I like the term ‘early bird’ for the worm-seeking ‘bot.

    J/P=?

  17. MikeN says:

    I think the government is creating more spammers than it destroys.
    They shouldn’t be going after people for using technology. If people’s computers are infected, it’s their fault for broadcasting in such an unsecure and vulnerable state. People need to make digital downloading(which is what e-mail is) work for them.

  18. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    17, do you work for a company that sells online ads and “helper” software? That’s the same attitude they have. And I think you’re nuts, by the way. 🙂

  19. BubbaRay says:

    #16, J/P=? I like the term ‘early bird’ for the worm-seeking ‘bot.

    A nice moniker. Gibson’s approach would be a good thing, too bad it’s “illegal”, I would like to see those “early birds” fly right into the net.

  20. Joe says:

    I GET NO SPAM

  21. Phillep says:

    Maybe he could get a poke in the nose for each person who complains about the spam he is responsible for.

    Any bets on how long it takes to decapitate him?

  22. RBG says:

    Now if we could just get rid of those annoying randomly highlighted, underlined words that have text balloons attached to them in this blog. They SEEM to change THE meaning of what WE say by artificially STRESSING words FROM our sentences THAT should NOT necessarily be stressed. NEXT, expect all our words WILL have SPONSORS attached TO each one.

    RBG

  23. Mr. Fusion says:

    #17, MikeN

    Why oh why do the right wing nut Bush apologists like to blame the victims?

  24. BubbaRay says:

    #22, RBG, if you’re using Firefox, just download the AdBlock add-on thru tools / add-ons, and you’ll never see those double underlined ads again.


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