A convicted AOL junk mailer, who tried to strike a spam business deal over instant messenger with a confidential informant, was sentenced on Friday to 27 months in prison.
Todd Moeller, 28, of New Jersey was found guilty of helping to send spam to more than 1.2 million AOL subscribers. His accomplice, 26-year-old Adam Vitale of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty in June and faces up to 11 years in prison when he is sentenced next week.
The two men delivered spam to more than 1.27 million AOL subscribers between Aug. 17 and Aug. 23, 2005, authorities said.
Moeller and Vitale were caught after communicating with a government informant who stated he wanted to promote a computer security program, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan. The pair told the informant that in return for half the profit, they could send spam to nearly 300 million email users, while making it nearly impossible to trace the spam run's origins.
Moeller told the informant over IM that he could conceal the source of the emails through access to 40 different servers, authorities said in court papers.
Sam Masiello, director of threat management at email security firm MX Logic, told SCMagazineUS.com today that prosecuting spammers shows that Congress is drafting laws to go after such criminals. But, as long as the financial motivation is there, spam levels likely will stay strong.
"From a legal standpoint, it's great that law enforcement is taking cybercrime seriously," he said. "From an overall spam perspective, it's not really making that much of a dent."
Masiello said spam has spiked 1,600 percent since February 2006, clearly showing there is no shortage of people willing to take over for a jailed spammer. In fact, new junk mailers on the scene may adjust their techniques so as not to get caught, he said.
An AOL spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.