Sexy friends to spam no more

Bravo to the FTC and the Department of Justice, who have hit the owners of ATM Global Systems, based in Boca Raton, Florida, with a fine following a successful prosecution under the CAN-SPAM Act.

Since at least January 2006, Mark Richman and Nathaniel Seidman, two officers of ATM Global, are said to have run an affiliate network which illegally sent unsolicited spam messages with faked headers and lurid subject lines in an attempt to promote websites such as

Under the CAN-SPAM Act, commercial emails must contain accurate header information, a valid postal address, and an opt-out mechanism for those who do not wish to receive further messages.

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Under the settlement, ATM Global and its principals Richman and Siedman are required to pay a $75,000 civil penalty and establish a monitoring programme to ensure that their affiliates do not breach anti-spam legislation again.

Eyebrows may be raised, however, at the size of the penalty, seeing as Richman and Siedman are estimated to have made $442,900 from the illegal spam. The defendants have been asked to pay less because of their alleged inability to pay – if the court later determines that they have misrepresented their financial status they will be stung for the entire amount.

Of course, the scumbags who send spam wouldn’t make a cent if none of us clicked on the links or bought the goods that they’re trying to flog. Have you taken the Sophos Spam Pledge yet?

More information about the judgement can be found on the FTC’s website: “FTC halts illegal spam operation; adult site violated CAN-SPAM Act”.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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