Spammer Nicholas Tombros accessed unsecured wireless internet
access points from his car.
Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global
network of virus and spam analysis centers, have reminded computer
users of securing their wireless internet access following the
sentencing of a man who sent pornographic spam while driving around
40-year-old Nicholas Tombros has been sentenced to three years'
probation and six months home detention after emailing out
thousands of advertisements for pornographic websites. The spam
emails were sent from Tombros's laptop via unencrypted wireless
internet access points he found while driving his car.
Tombros has also been ordered to pay a $10,000 fine as part of a
plea bargain he reached with prosecutors after being
charged in August 2004. At the time the US Attorney's office
had said that Tombros could face up to three years in prison if
convicted. Further details of the plea deal, including why it took
three years for Tombros to be sentenced, have not been made
"It's something of a mystery as to why it has taken three years
for Tombros to be sentenced, and compared to other convicted
spammers he seems to have got away relatively unscathed. Sentencing
needs to happen much faster if a strong message is going to be sent
out to other spammers that their criminal activities are
unacceptable," said Graham Cluley, senior
technology consultant for Sophos. "Home users and businesses need
to ensure that they have properly secured their wireless internet
access or face the risk that hackers will take advantage."
Sophos experts note that Tombros is just the latest in a long
line of spammers, phishers, hackers and other cybercriminals to
have been recently sentenced for their activities.
Sophos recommends that companies protect themselves with a
consolidated solution which can defend
against the threats of spam, spyware, hackers and viruses.