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31 Aug 2004

Suspected drive-by spammer faces federal charges, Sophos reports

Nicholas Tombros is alleged to have used his laptop to send spam via unencrypted wireless internet
Nicholas Tombros is alleged to have used his laptop to send spam via unencrypted wireless internet access points.

A 37-year-old man from Marina del Rey, California, is facing federal charges for allegedly sending spam advertising pornographic websites.

Nicholas Tombros has been charged under the United States CAN SPAM act for allegedly sending thousands of email messages from his laptop whilst driving in his car through Venice, California. Prosecutors allege that he would log on to unencrypted wireless internet access points to send the spam.

"Spammers target the unprotected computers of innocent businesses and home users to send their junk email, as it makes it harder for them to be identified" said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Anyone who has set up wireless internet access should ensure it is properly secured with passwords and encryption to make sure that passing hackers and spammers are not stealing the bandwidth."

According to the US Attorney's office, Tombros could face up to three years in prison if convicted.

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses from the threats of both spam and viruses.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.