Man investigated for sending two billion Viagra spam emails

IT security firm Sophos has welcomed news that The Australian Communications Authority (ACMA) has launched an investigation into the activities of a man suspected of sending more than 2 billion ‘Viagra spam’ messages by email.

The investigation commenced after the ACMA received information from OPTA, the Dutch Independent Regulator of Post and Telecommunications. The ACMA then seized a computer and related items from an Australian resident, whose identity and whereabouts have not yet been released, and is currently analysing this evidence.

The Australian Spam Act was introduced in 2003 to outlaw the sending of spam in the country or to other regions. The act of sending bulk unsolicited email is classified as a civil offence under the act with repeat offenders risking being fined up to 1.1 million Australians dollars (approximately 439,400 pounds sterling) a day.

“It looks like a spammer from down-under has become so excited with his of her own Viagra spam, that they have forgotten about the severe financial penalties that could be imposed by the authorities, if they’re caught out,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “Spam is a global problem. A junk email message selling drugs can be received by internet users around the world. It is good to see the high level of cooperation between international authorities and we can only hope that a clear message is sent to spammers that their activities will not be tolerated.”

Sophos warns that computer users should be particularly wary of purchasing medications touted by spammers online.

“If you think you need Viagra seek out a legitimate doctor, not a quack on the internet. Buying medicine online from a website advertised by spam email could put your health in mortal danger,” continued Cluley.

Sophos recommends that companies protect their email gateways with a consolidated solution to defend against viruses, spyware and spam, as well as secure their desktop and servers with automatically updated protection. n




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