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05 May 2006

'Spamford' Wallace hit with $4 million fine for spyware practices

Sanford Wallace
Sanford Wallace and his company have to pay more than $4 million.

Infamous spyware king Sanford Wallace and his Smartbot.Net team have been ordered by a New Hampshire court Wednesday to pay more than $4 million based on his illegal internet practices.

Wallace and Smartbot.Net downloaded spyware onto computers without computer users' permission, which then allowed them to hijack the user's preferred search engine. In conjunction with the fine, the Federal Trade Commission barred Wallace from continuing to download spyware, software, and altering search engine features without consumers' consent.

According to experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, Wallace first appeared as a cyber criminal in the 1990s as a spammer. In 2004, it was revealed that his spyware activity caused computers to slow down and CD trays to randomly open.

"Cyber criminals such as Wallace create business disruption and personal threats throughout the world," said Ron O'Brien, senior security analyst at Sophos. "Sophos has been tracking Wallace for several years, and in general there has been a sharp rise in cyber criminals being caught, primarily due to tougher laws and more effective security solutions."

In 2004 the Federal Trade Commission ordered Sanford Wallace to immediately stop all spyware activity as he was infecting computers with spyware and then trying to sell infected computer users the remedy.

"The FTC should be applauded for taking immediate action against this well-known spyware criminal," continues O'Brien. "Unfortunately spyware organizations are popping up each and every day - computer users, the first line of defense, must be more aware of the danger and be sure to have the proper security solution to protect them from being a victim of such cyber activity."

Sanford Wallace was nicknamed "Spamford" by some members of the anti-spam community because of his notoriety for sending junk email during the 1990s.

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can control network access and defend against the threats of spam, hackers, spyware 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.