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Man Detained for Renting Spam Botnet to Run Pump-and-Dump Operation

A man from Texas was arrested on March 21, 2011 in USA on charges that he orchestrated an operation involving a spam run with a Russian computer hacker's assistance so he could inflate some newly-emerging companies' stock prices, stated the Department of Justice.

Specifically according to federal authorities, the man Christopher Rad from Cedar Park (Texas) masterminded one global pump-and-dump scam, which distributed spam mails promoting shares such that their values were artificially hyped and the proceeds shared among all the gang members. An 18-page indictment presented at New Jersey's federal court stated this.

Reportedly, the gang dispatched the spam mails through hijacked PCs of worldwide networks that according to security researchers were under the control of malware while the computer-owners had no idea of their machines being used.

Apparently, it was during November 2007 that the scam was started and it went on through February 2009. In the process, the alleged scammers acquired hold of what's known as "penny stocks" that prominent exchanges avoided trading.

Said prosecutors, the scam utilized spammers and hackers for infecting PCs with viruses after which the contaminated PCs accumulated in a network called "botnet," were utilized for dispatching promotional spam of company stocks. Marketwatch.com reported this on March 22, 2011.

Traditionally, there's been employment of botnets that occasionally contained numerous thousand PCs for largely selling fake medicines or luxury products. Illegal stock promoters too use them for widely spamming mailboxes while bypassing anti-spam software, says Analyst Joe Stewart for Dell SecureWorks an Internet security division of Dell Inc. Businessweek.com reported this on March 22, 2011.

Meanwhile, in moving the fledgling firms' share values during the period mentioned above, there was another man named James Bragg whom Rad took as partner

However, Rad is sentenced for up to 5-years in jail and ordered to pay US$ 250,000 in fine for having being an intermediary between dishonest share traders and Russian computer hijackers, who were responsible for running the botnet. While a man from Arizona (USA), who during October 2010 admitted of being involved in the incidence, is waiting to hear his sentence, reports MarketWatch on March 21, 2011.

Related article: Man Sues and Wins against ISP for Spamming Mail

» SPAMfighter News - 3/29/2011

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