A few weeks ago we discussed the arrest of spammer Robert Alan Soloway and its potential repercussions in the network and email security industries. At the time, authorities claimed that the arrest could see a “noticeable decrease in the amount of junk email” in their inboxes.
I don’t know about you, but my spam filters are still running overtime. However, it seems that authorities are also continuing to work hard as another spammer pleaded guilty in a US District Court in New York this past Monday. Adam Vitale and Todd Moeller, members of the “g00dfellas” spam operation, were arrested by the US Secret Service in February 2006 after being snagged in a government sting operation when they sealed a deal to “advertise” a bogus PC security application with a government informant.
On Monday, Vitale pleaded guilty to multiple counts of violating the CAN-SPAM Act. According to the indictment, during one week in August 2005, Vitale and his partner targeted more than 1.27 million AOL email addresses. Unfortunately, according to Spam Kings author Brian Williams in a blog entry from shortly after the spammers’ 2006 arrest, the Secret Services case focuses solely on the defendants’ activities involving the government’s operation and does not include any of the pair’s other extensive spam operations. That said, Vitale is facing a maximum sentence of 11 years in a federal prison and Moeller faces similar charges.
As we said after Soloway’s arrest, slapping cuffs on a few spammers is all well and good but should not, by any means, suggest that it’s okay for network security consultants to lower their guard. Spamming is alive and well. It even has a community that recently mobilized an attack against spam whistle-blowing project Spamhaus that locked up the group’s servers. Spam has embedded itself in our culture, even inspiring a Weird Al Yankovic song.