Judge kicks notorious spammer off Facebook

A federal judge has ordered spammer Sanford Wallace to stop using Facebook.

A federal judge in San Jose, California, has ordered convicted spammer Sanford Wallace to stay away from Facebook.

Facebook sued Wallace and two other men last week in an effort to cut down on spam and phishing schemes on the social-networking site. On Monday, Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a temporary restraining order barring Wallace and two other alleged spammers, Adam Arzoomanian and Scott Shaw, from accessing Facebook's network.

In court filings, Facebook argues that these men gained access to legitimate Facebook accounts and then used them to spam the profile pages of the account holders' friends. Facebook allows users to post messages on the "Wall" of the profile pages of their friends.

The Facebook spam messages served two functions -- they enticed users into visiting phishing Web sites where they could be tricked up into giving up their Facebook login credentials; they routed victims to commercial Web sites that paid the spammers for the traffic, Facebook said.

News of the lawsuit was first reported Friday by Inside Facebook, a Web site for Facebook developers.

Wallace is one of the country's most notorious spammers, with a career that dates back to the 1990s. Last May a federal judge found him and a partner guilty under the CAN-SPAM act and ordered them to pay US$230 million for phishing and spamming MySpace users with links to gambling, ringtone and pornography Web sites.

Spammers and phishers have been hitting Facebook particularly hard over the past year and a half, said Dave Jevans, chairman of the Anti-Phishing Working Group. Because Facebook spam often looks like it comes from a friend it can be very effective. And because it's Web-based, it skirts traditional e-mail spam filtering tools, Jevans said.

"Some of the bigger guys can get a million people a day to look at their stuff," he said. "It's occasional, but you'll see it."

Spam is just one of several ills plaguing the social network. Over the past few days, Facebook users have also been hit with a new variant of the Koobface worm, which tries to trick victims into installing malicious software onto their PCs. Also, fake applications that send out messages such as "F a c e b o o k - closing down!!!" or "Error Check System" to try to trick victims into sending the messages to their friends have also been circulating around the social network.

Late last year, the judge in the Wallace case awarded Facebook a record US$873 million in damages after Facebook accused other spammers of using stolen logins to pump out more than 4 million spam messages. Facebook says that it doesn't expect the spammers in that case to pay up, but the company hopes that it may serve as a deterrent.

Jevans agreed that lawsuits probably won't stop the big-time Facebook spammers, but he said they could deter the little guys.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Facebookspam

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?