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12 Jan 2006

Detroit spam defendant set to be sentenced to at least two years in jail

Behind bars
Daniel Lin is likely to face a jail sentence of at least two years.

A man accused of sending millions of illegal spam emails from compromised computers belonging to well known companies and government organisations, is expected to plead guilty on Tuesday and is likely to face a prison sentence of at least two years.

Daniel Lin of West Broomfield, Detroit, has been charged with three other men of sending millions of emails in April 2005 from hacked computers belonging to the Ford Motor Company, Amoco, Unisys, the US Army Information Centre, and the Administrative Office of US Courts. The spam emails sold bogus diet aids, herbal remedies and illegally imported erectile dysfunction drugs.

Lin has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors which will result in a sentence of between two years and 57 months in prison. Before making the agreement, Lin had faced up to five years on each of the two spam counts and up to 10 years on an unrelated gun charge.

According to records produced by the authorities, the gang of four men generated more than $100,000, selling more than 100 orders a week for at least five months. Amongst the goods sold was a $59-a-month herbal weight loss patch that officials say did not work.

"Spammers clog the internet with unwanted messages, making life harder for everyone with an email address and peddling bogus goods to the unwary. They also don't balk at exploiting the computers of innocent people and companies to relay their unwanted spam onto other computer users," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Weight-loss products are just one of many goods plugged by spammers, but many computer users faced by the growing tide of spam will probably like to see spammers go on a diet of bread-and-water."

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend against 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.