Spam King Gets 30-Months Prison Sentence

The self-titled Spam King, Sandford Wallace, has been given a 30-month jail sentence in relation to a Facebook spam campaign carried out between November 2008 and February 2009.

Wallace illegally gained access to around 550,000 Facebook accounts and used those accounts to post spam messages to users’ walls which asked their Facebook followers to visit webpages which harvested login credentials and other personal data.

For every account that was infiltrated, Wallace gathered details of the users’ friends and published spam messages to their walls. Wallace deployed an automated script to sign into the hacked accounts and publish spam messages. Overall, over million spam messages were sent using those accounts. Wallace was allegedly paid for sending traffic to websites via the spam messages. Wallace’s activities meant that people gave him the nickname “Spamford” Wallace.

It has been widely reported that Wallace was a career hacker, having first made a business out of spamming in the 1990’s with a company known as Cyber Promotions. The company was reportedly sharing around 30 million spam emails on a daily basis.

Wallace had been found guilty of Internet offenses in civil cases in the past, leading to a financial penalty of $4 million in 2006 for use of malicious popup adverts and a fine of $230 million for phishing attacks via MySpace in 2008. This is the first time the spam king has been given a criminal conviction for his online activities.

Wallace was convicted in 2011 for the improper accessing of Facebook accounts and for publishing unsolicited adverts on three occasions, spread over a period of 4 days. He was forbidden from accessing Facebook, yet violated the court order leading to a charge of criminal contempt of court. Wallace was released on a bond, and while he was due to be sentenced in December, the case had to be delayed after two of Wallace’s lawyers left his service.

The Spam King’s campaigns have lead to him being ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages, although Wallace was not in a position to pay the civil fines.

Wallace was convicted of one count of fraud and related activity in relation to electronic mail and one count of criminal contempt. The Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California recently revealed the sentence, which was handed over by Judge Edward J. Davila.

Along with the jail term, the spam king has been directed to pay fines of over $310,000. Wallace could have received a maximum jail term of three years. Wallace will also have to undergo 5 years of supervised release once the sentence has come to an end. That sentence starts on Sept, 7, 2016.

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Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth Hernandez is a news writer on Defensorum. Elizabeth is an experienced journalist who has worked on many publications for several years. Elizabeth writers about compliance and the related areas of IT security breaches. Elizabeth's has a focus data privacy and secure handling of personal information. Elizabeth has a postgraduate degree in journalism. Elizabeth Hernandez is the editor of HIPAAZone.