The US Federal Trade Commission struck a decisive blow in the fight against spam last week, after a federal judge ruled that Sanford 'Spam King' Wallace will have to pay $4m in damages.
Wallace's company, Smartbot.net, was charged with installing spyware on victim's PCs without consent, changing their browser settings, and submitting them to an unending barrage of pop-up advertisements.
One website used blatant deception to lure users into installing spyware. Using a 'system call' to open the victim's CD drive remotely, the site then displayed a message stating: "If your CD-ROM drive is open you need to rid your system of spyware."
A link offering to install software to remove the problem actually installed the malware.
The judge is understood to have ruled for the full amount of disgorgement, or monies equivalent to that which was taken through the company's illegal actions.
A secondary judgement was also made against Optintrade, a company that placed advertisements for the Smartbot.net software. In this case the judge ruled on a payment of $277,000.
The money will go to the US Treasury.
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