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Spam-fighter Prosecuted with $60K Fine for Hacking Private DNS

Veteran American spam-fighter, David Ritz, bears a fine of $60,000 and lawyers fees after being convicted of unauthorized hacking as per a civil lawsuit. The Register published this on January 17, 2008.

The Nevada-based Internet Service Provider (ISP), Sierra Corporate Design, that Jerry Reynolds runs, brought up the action lawsuit. According to Sierra's complaint released on January 17, 2008, the offences involve transferring an illegal zone on a Sierra-owned DNS server on February 27, 2005. There were also subsequent efforts to reach servers of Sierra in conflict with the CFC or Computer Fraud and Crime statute of North Dakota.

Another campaigner against spam, Edward Falk, who also operates 'Spam Tracking Page', acted as a supporting defendant. In a different case, Reynolds sued Falk for referring him as a spammer of porn material.

Further, the court pointed out that Ritz had conducted a harassment campaign against Sierra that included UseNet 'Death Penalties' and mail bombing, and said that malice motivated Ritz. In addition, he engaged in contempt of court by violating a restraining order relating to conducting the acts mentioned.

According to the complaint, Ritz allegedly hacked servers of Sierra, which claims to be a specialist Internet services and web hosting company, and capturing secret configuration data of its internal network by applying a zone transfer. It also alleged that Ritz used whois to obtain domain name details and went on to post that data on the Internet. There were also allegations that Falk helped Ritz by re-releasing his findings.

During October 2006, the court at North Dakota ruled that it could not try Falk who was residing in California, as the region was beyond its jurisdiction. So the court dismissed the lawsuit filed against Falk. But the case charging Ritz proceeded.

The issue about whether Ritz plans to appeal is unclear. He could possibly face criminal prosecution relating to same alleged offenses.

The hacking case has aroused concern from the anti-spam quarters. Mark, a Reg reader, noted that Ritz faced prosecution for employing the same tools of Unix that anybody uses to trigger problems, admin their systems, and trace spammers' origins. The Register published this.

Related article: Spam Scam Bags a Scottish Connection

» SPAMfighter News - 02-02-2008

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