"Dirty Duo" found guilty of operating sexually explicit spam business

June 26, 2007 Sophos Press Release

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James Schaffer and Jeffrey Kilbride ran an international pornographic spam business.

Experts at IT security and control firm Sophos have welcomed news that two men have been found guilty for their part in an international spam gang which bombarded innocent internet users with graphic pornographic images.

A federal jury has convicted James R. Schaffer, of Paradise Valley, Arizona, and Jeffrey A. Kilbride, of Venice, California, on charges including conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and transportation of obscene materials.

Spam sent by Schaffer and Kilbride is said to have resulted in America Online receiving more than 600,000 complaints from users between 30 January and 9 June 2004. The spam messages were sent out to promote hardcore pornographic websites, and according to Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher grossed the two men, both 41 years old, more than $2 million.

"This dirty duo used a variety of tricks to try and hide their whereabouts from the US authorities. These included logging in remotely to servers based in Amsterdam to try and make their spam messages look like they originated from outside the USA, and using bank accounts in Mauritius and the Isle of Man," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "The spammers worked hard to protect themselves and disguise their identities, but didn't lose any sleep over the hundreds of thousands innocent families and children who were receiving their unwanted explicit emails."

Other members of the gang, including work-at-home "mom" Jennifer Clason and Kirk Rogers of Manhattan Beach, California, have admitted their involvement in the international spam operation.

Schaffer and Kilbride face up to five years in prison for each spam act and obscenity offense. In addition they face a fine of up to $500,000, and a maximum 20 year prison sentence for money laundering. Sentencing is scheduled for 24 September.

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