Florida files suit against suspected spammers, Sophos reports

April 05, 2005 Sophos Press Release

The Florida Attorney General's office has filed claims under the state's anti-spam law, charging two men with running an operation that generated over 65,000 deceptive emails since 2003.

The state said email campaigns distributed by Scott J. Filary, 25, and Donald E. Townsend, 34, advertised more than 75 different websites that engaged in fraudulent or illegal business activities, including unauthorised sales of pharmaceuticals and cigarettes as well as services for illegal downloading of copyrighted movies. If found guilty, the defendants could face fines up to $24 million.

The Florida anti-spam law prohibits the distribution of unsolicited commercial email that contains false or deceptive subject information, or that is sent from invalid email addresses. Violators face a penalty of up to $500 for every illegal email message they send to Florida residents.

"Spam has been growing more sophisticated, which has forced states like Florida to create or tighten laws on unsolicited email," said Gregg Mastoras, senior security analyst at Sophos Inc. "The message from the Florida Attorney Gerneral's office is fairly clear - this action will certainly make other spammers who aim to defraud think twice."

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses from the threats of both spam and viruses; and that users do not open or reply to unsolicited emails.