Following his guilty plea almost a year ago, Sanford Wallace, the self-proclaimed “Spam King,” was given a two-and-a-half year prison sentence this week. The hacker is known for plaguing Facebook users with over 27 million spam messages, in addition to collecting the log-in credentials of more than 500,000 people. While that punishment might seem a bit light considering the depth of Wallace’s operation, he has also been ordered to pay some $310,000 in fines.
Wallace began his rise to spam juggernaut in the ’90s, but his criminal charges are directly tied to the Facebook era of his activities. Between 2008 and 2009, the Spam King inundated people with messages directing them to external sites via links. These sites then collected their email addresses and passwords in order gain access to their Facebook friends list, which in turn helped the spamming to spread.
Once he was sending messages to a huge audience, he directed users to websites where he could earn money from their increased traffic. Wallace was also revealed to have hacked into Facebook’s network to proliferate his scheme.
While this is the first time Wallace has been convicted, he previously faced lawsuits from MySpace in 2007, as well as Facebook in 2009. He was ordered to pay those companies almost $1 billion in fine, but they could never collect.
The Spam King has pleaded guilty to “one count of fraud and related activity in connection with electronic mail.” The prosecutors in the case were seeking the maximum jail time of three years, but it looks like Wallace managed to wiggle out of those extra six months.
SOURCE Department of Justice