The only thing that sucks more than spam are the greedy people who send it to you. That's why the Department of Justice charging three spam kingpins responsible for one of the largest data breaches in history is so exciting. Finally, Feds are taking down the spam kingpins—or at least trying.
A small army of U.S. attorneys and special agents just announced the charges. The indictments name two Vietnamese citizens and one Canadian who ran a years-long scheme to collect email addresses, spam them with links to websites, and then collect revenue from those websites. "These men… are accused of carrying out the largest data breach of names and email addresses in the history of the Internet," Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in a statement. "The defendants allegedly made millions of dollars by stealing over a billion email addresses from email service providers."
That's a lot of email addresses. Feds went on to explain how the spam kingpins targeted most of the major email providers in the United States which means that your Gmail address could've been one of the stolen ones. The suspected spammers are Vietnamese citizens Giang Hoang Vu and Viet Quoc Nguyen, who carried out the biggest data breach in United States history between 2009 and 2011. Canadian citizen David-Manuel Santos Da Silva ran a website called Marketbay.com and allegedly helped the Vietnamese duo launder the money earned from spamming.
The good news is that Da Silva and Vu have been arrested. Vu has already pleaded guilty to computer fraud charges. One suspect, 28-year-old Viet Quoc Nguyen, remains a fugitive. And spamming is still a problem—a dangerous one, too.
Image by Michael Hession