Spam

montypythonspam

‘Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam! Lovely spam!Wonderful spam!Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam.Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Spam spam spam spam!’

Before I’m accused of losing it, could anybody reading the above that’s not aware of the Spam Song sketch, please look it up on YouTube immediately.I have to admit that I’ve dipped back in time to the era of Monty Python but it seemed somewhat relevant this week when I heard the news that a man dubbed the ‘spam king’ is to be tried by a Seattle court.

Robert Soloway has been responsible for sending billions of unsolicited junk e-mails (spam) worldwide since starting his illicit empire which funding a life of luxury including a water front apartment in Seattle and a top of the range Mercedes Benz.

It is almost certain that anyone reading this article has received an unwanted e-mail from Mr Soloway in the past due to the extensive reach of his company over the Internet.He is accused of hijacking thousands of computers, infecting them with a virus and then using them as ‘zombie computers’ to send messages to millions of inboxes across the world.These users of these computers would not have known that their machines were sending illegal spam and many of his e-mailings were sent under their legitimate e-mail addresses.

Mr Soloway is also being tried for a total of 35 different charges including fraud, identity theft, money laundering and email fraud.If convicted he could face decades in prison, a hefty fine and in addition prosecutors want to seize $773,000 that it’s estimated that Soloway made from his firm.The true extent of his financial empire is uncertain as despite four of his bank accounts being seized by authorities, police believe he has dozens more.

In 2005 Microsoft won a seven million dollar judgement against Mr Soloway after they sued him over spam sent through Microsoft’s MSN and Hotmail services.Later in the same year an ISP in Oklahoma won ten million dollars against him but neither company managed to get a penny.

I personally am bored of having to spend hours of my life every month sifting through spam.I do use an e-mail filter that blocks 99% of it but unfortunately it can also pick up genuine customer e-mails; this results in me having to sift through my junk folder to retrieve these messages.The arrest of Mr Soloway is symbolic more than anything else; it is unlikely to have any real impact on the number of spam messages we receive as many of them originate from places such as Russia and the Ukraine, and authorities there are a lot more relaxed about the issue.

This arrest is certainly a step in the right direction and I hope that over the coming year we see a couple more convictions as it’s only when the message that spam doesn’t pay gets across that we will eventually see this reflected in our inboxes.

 

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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