Suspected 'King of Spam' arrested in Seattle

June 01, 2007 Sophos Press Release
Behind bars
If convicted Robert Soloway could receive a sentence of up to 65 years in prison.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have warned companies to abide by anti-spam laws following the arrest of a man suspected of sending tens of millions of unwanted commercial emails.

Police in Seattle, Washington, arrested 27-year-old Robert Soloway, after he was indicted on charges of mail fraud, identity theft and money laundering. Dubbed the "Spam King" by prosecutors, it is claimed that Soloway used a large zombie network of hijacked computers to send millions of spam email messages.

Some reports have claimed that Soloway, who has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, has made $1.6 million in the last four years through his company Newport Internet Marketing.

"Businesses need to abide by the law, and be careful not to engage in spamming innocent internet users with their unwanted messages. Furthermore they should take measures to ensure that firms they hire to send marketing messages for them are not breaking the law," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Hackers have no qualms about commandeering innocent peoples' computers without their knowledge to spew out spam rather than using their own PCs. An arrest of a single suspected spammer is unlikely to relieve the pressure on the typical person's email inbox, but does send out a clear message that the authorities are serious about pursuing those who send out junk email."

If convicted, Soloway could face a sentence of up to 65 years in prison.

Earlier this year, a Sophos survey revealed that five percent of computer users admit to having purchased goods sold via spam.

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