Godfather of spam jailed for four years

Graham Cluley

Alan Ralsky, the so-called “Godfather of spam”, has been sentenced to four years in jail for his role in a stock fraud scheme that earned him $2.7 million during the summer of 2005.

64-year-old Ralsky, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for a share price manipulation scam that ran between January 2004 and late 2005, when he was raided by the authorities.

To help them send millions of spam messages every day, Ralsky and his associates exploited a botnet of hijacked computers belonging to innocent internet users.

Although hardly ever seen today, at the time spam designed to manipulate stock prices (also known as “pump-and-dump scams”) was frequently encountered. However, it’s not as prevalent as it used to be, partly because of action taken by the SEC to shut them down, and partly – perhaps – because of the economic downturn.

However, at the time of Ralsky’s offences…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.