Seems Michigan is a popular place for spammers as it’s not only home to one of the kings of spam, but is also where the first arrests under the CAN-SPAM Act has taken place.
Christopher Chung, 30, and Mark Sadek, 27 of West Bloomfield were arraigned in federal court in Detroit on Wednesday while two brothers, Daniel and James Lin, are still being hunted down by the Feds.
The four are accused of secretly commandeering computers that forward e-mail for some of the nation’s biggest corporations—including Ford Motor Co.—to send millions of junk messages advertising herbal supplements, diet patches and sexual enhancement pills and products.
Other unwitting companies and agencies whose computers were used include Unisys Corp., Amoco Corp., the Administrative Office of the United States Courts and the U.S. Army Information Center, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Wednesday.
The four are accused of forging return e-mail addresses on millions of unsolicited advertisements sent across the Internet, often through the use of what are known as open proxy servers, or systems that will relay e-mail from any point on the Internet, owned by unsuspecting businesses and government agencies.
The use of proxy servers has long been a trick used by spammers—who now account for about 60 percent of all e-mail—to obscure their identity.
“This has been a problem that’s plagued the Net for years, and the fact that corporations and government agencies still have open mail servers is scandalous,” said Tony Robinson, a security consultant for Pioneer Technology in Sterling Heights. “Somebody dropped the ball.”
In addition to facing a possible 5 year prison sentence for violating the CAN-SPAM Act these guys are also facing up to 20 years for mail fraud for selling fake weight-loss patches, among other questionable products, through their spam.
FTC investigators ordered the patch and had it analyzed. Dr. Michael Jensen, identified in the complaint as a Mayo Clinic nutritional expert, was asked to evaluate the claims and said the ingredients in the patch “would not achieve the weight loss as advertised.”
While it’s nice to actually see some of these assholes get their comeuppance, this is unlikely to result in much of an impact on the amount of spam or scams flying around on the Net. That’ll only start to happen when individuals and companies put more effort into securing their computers against being hijacked by the assholes in the first place.