War-Driving Pornographic Spammer Escapes Jail Time - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

War-Driving Pornographic Spammer Escapes Jail Time

A California man who pleaded guilty to using unprotected wireless access accounts to send out porn site advertisements was sentenced to probation and home detention.

A California man who pleaded guilty to going war driving -- seeking out unprotected wireless access points -- to send out pornographic spam won't be going to jail.

Nicholas Tombros, of Marina Del Rey, Tuesday received a sentence of three years of probation and six months of home detention in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. He also was given a $10,000 fine, according to an interview with a court spokesman.

Tombros pleaded guilty in 2004 to sending spam e-mail messages advertising pornographic Web sites from his laptop computer while driving through Venice, Calif., according to the Justice Department and the FBI. Tombros admitted to using a wireless antennae attached to his laptop while driving around Venice to find open and unencrypted wireless access points in the area. He then used the wireless networks to send out thousands of spam messages.

Sending out spam while war driving is known as war-spamming.

Tombros pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a computer to send multiple commercial electronic mail messages, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a statement. He faced a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

"It's something of a mystery as to why it has taken three years for Tombros to be sentenced. And compared to other convicted spammers, he seems to have gotten away relatively unscathed," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, in a written statement. "Sentencing needs to happen much faster if a strong message is going to be sent out to other spammers that their criminal activities are unacceptable."

Cluley said this is yet another warning for wireless users. "Home users and businesses need to ensure that they have properly secured their wireless Internet access or face the risk that hackers will take advantage," he added.

The U.S. Attorney's Office reported that the case was the first conviction in the nation under the Can-Spam Act of 2003.

At the end of May, the man the feds dubbed the "Spam King" was arrested on charges of identity theft, fraud, and money laundering. Robert Alan Soloway, 27, the owner of Newport Internet Marketing Corp. of Seattle, is looking at five counts of identity theft, mail fraud, wire fraud, fraud in connection with electronic mail, and money laundering. If convicted on all the charges, he could face up to 75 years in prison.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Commentary
Learning: It's a Give and Take Thing
James M. Connolly, Editorial Director, InformationWeek and Network Computing,  1/24/2020
Slideshows
IT Careers: Top 10 US Cities for Tech Jobs
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  1/14/2020
Commentary
Predictions for Cloud Computing in 2020
James Kobielus, Research Director, Futurum,  1/9/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20's
This IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll