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Man Threatened Spam Attack In $200,000 Extortion Plot

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the can't-believe-this-didn't-work dept.

Crime 77

52-year-old Anthony Digati was arrested for trying to extort $200,000 from an insurance firm by threatening to spam them with six million emails unless they paid up. Digati said he would use a spam service and his amazing talents as a "huge social networker" to drag the company "through the muddiest waters imaginable" and presumably unfriend everyone. He added that the price would increase to $3 million if they failed to pay up by Monday, according to federal authorities.

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77 comments

amazing. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31429542)

cops are actually taking action. i had a similar incident take place and the cops could not be bothered.

Re:amazing. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31429712)

I guess the truth is they had money and you did not. Corporations enjoy the best laws money can buy after all.

Re:amazing. (1)

tronkel (1128393) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430526)

They misspelled his name. With his level of computer knowledge his name should be spelled Anthony Digitali.

Mafia? (5, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429546)

"That's an awfully nice looking email server you've got there. It'd be a shame if something happened to it."

Re:Mafia? (2, Funny)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429586)

"No, no, no. It's not 'Protection'. We're just selling 'Oops Insurance'."

*knocks over a display rack*

"Oops."

we need a fancy new name for the digital mafia (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430258)

something with italian roots, but connoting the digital

hmmm

how about the digati?

Re:we need a fancy new name for the digital mafia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31430876)

RIAA?

6 million spam messages? (4, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429552)

Also known as Tuesday.

Re:6 million spam messages? (3, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429600)

Tuesday. In the morning. From 8:15 AM to 8:25 AM. On a slow day.

Seems kinda more "Doctor Evil" than actual evil, doesn't it?

"I demand.." [brings pinkie to lip] ".. one MILLION dollars."
[collective governments of the world laugh with relief]

SF (1)

Inf0phreak (627499) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429720)

The day I sent you 6 million spam mails was the most important day in your life. But for me... it was Tuesday [tvtropes.org] .

Re:SF (2, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429816)

DAMN YOU! I had forgotten about tvtropes. Damnit damnit damnit damnit.

Re:SF (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432394)

DAMN YOU! I had forgotten about tvtropes. Damnit damnit damnit damnit.

If I don't have hours to kill, I'll read a page or two and drop any interesting links into a "tropes" bookmark folder for later perusal instead of opening tabs with them.

My tropes folder is now 50 entries large. It was only 5 large, and then one day I tried cleaning it out....

So what I'm saying is convince yourself to save things for later and then make sure 'later' never, under any circumstances, EVER arrives.

Fucking Nerds (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31429554)

when will you fucking nerds ever learn?

Sir Spam Alot (0)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429560)

We dine well here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and spamalot.

How the worm has turned!!! (5, Funny)

retardpicnic (1762292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429584)

I had a similar thing happen with CD of the month club. I dunno whats worse, paying them the money to quit hounding me about our "contract"... or owning a Nickleback CD.....

Target selection FAIL (4, Insightful)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429624)

Might want to avoid extortion targets who are very well experienced, staffed, and funded in risk analysis.

Re:Target selection FAIL (4, Funny)

Entropius (188861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429678)

Reminds me of those Somali pirates that decided it would be a good idea to try to hijack a French corvette. Once they started shooting the French said "Welp, okay" and blew them out of the water.

Re:Target selection FAIL (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430910)

What dose it say about the French that the pirates thought that they could get away with that?

Re:Target selection FAIL (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432760)

Looks like they actually believed the jokes about the surrender-monkeys.

Remember, kids, it's not weak to appear weak, just make sure that crutch you lean on has enough ammo.

Re:Target selection FAIL (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31437484)

Once they started shooting the French said "Welp, okay" and blew them out of the water.

Wait the French didn't surrender? Are you sure it was the French?

Re:Target selection FAIL (2, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429908)

Some plans are so foolish that it makes you wonder if there's actual brain damage involved. For one thing, even if his original plan worked, he'd still be a million in the hole and two, there's no way to hide something like that from the authorities for any amount of time.

Re:Target selection FAIL (4, Informative)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430028)

According to the article at the register [theregister.co.uk] . He included his email addres and phone while talking about how evil and vindictive he is. He either didn't have the capacity to make rational decisions or never intended to succeed. Since he was also already in debt 1.2 mil and made his demand precisely 4x his life insurance premium that he was unhappy with I'm thinking it was a little of both.

Better article (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31429686)

Here's a Register link to avoid the slimy popups on the linked Fox news site:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/08/cyber_extortion_charges/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Better article (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429818)

What you don't have a popup blocker?

Have you been frozen in time for 10 years?

Re:Better article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31430350)

Don't be smarmy. There are some PPV popups that Firefox won't block. It's not your run of the mill popup like the old days.

Re:Better article (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431806)

What, you don't have flashblock and noscript installed?

Holy hell the quality of geek declines rapidly as the years go by.

Re:Better article (1)

nullchar (446050) | more than 4 years ago | (#31433662)

Maybe it's changed from FF 3.0 to 3.5, but I grew tired of clicking twice for flash content that I wanted to see. One click for NoScript and a second click for FlashBlock.

I try to keep my browser lean (and lean still means ~10 extensions, mostly for web dev). NoScript + CookieMonster + RefControl seems to work good enough for me.

Re:Better article (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431838)

They must not be on that site, then, because I checked it with Firefox on both Mac and Linux and got no pop-ups. I'm also running Noscript and Adblock-Plus; anyone who isn't, should be.

Re:Better article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31435000)

It goes in a cycle. 1) When you get a new machine, you browse "naked." You just use the sites you trust, but after you get the equivalent of the first few scratches, you feel comfortable spreading your web-wings, but you want to do so safely, so no-script is the first thing to be added for security reasons. Eventually the ads become too obtrusive and you get all blocking bits.

Your web is fast and responsive, but you start to wonder what you're missing. Another year or so and it's time for a new machine. GOTO 1.

Re:Better article (1)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432476)

Firefox won't block popups triggered by a click, presumably because it assumes you wanted the popup. The site does exactly that should you click on any empty space. NoScript will naturally nail it, though.

So I RTFA (2, Informative)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429926)

Ok, So I got a funny mod above, then I read the article. This guy is $1.2 mil in debt and was provoked by 'becoming "dissatisfied" with the performance of his own universal life insurance policy.' That's sad. But wait, theres more:

""By the way," he added. "Yes, I am crazy. Yes, I am vindictive. Yes, I am extremely upset."

And to prove he wasn't joking, he allegedly included his personal phone number and email address. "

 
This man is obviously stressed out and possibly mentally ill. Still think he should go to jail though.

Re:So I RTFA (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31436960)

This man is obviously stressed out and possibly mentally ill. Still think he should go to jail though.

Yes, send dude to jail so we can pay for his existance.

jail is obviously the answer to every crime, seeing as it stops crime.

OMG! (5, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430086)

The dude did manage to drag the company through slashdot - there is no water muddier.

Cue Dr. Evil Pinky... (4, Funny)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430192)

Dr. Evil: If you don't pay up we're going to send out...
[pinky to corner of mouth] ...6 MILLION emails.

Number Two: Don't you think we send out *more* than six million emails? Six million emails isn't exactly a lot of spam these days. Virtucon alone gets over 9 billion spam messages per day!

Sorry Anthony.... (-1, Offtopic)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430336)

Sorry Anthony, but your scheme where a company pays you to not spam them advocates a ( ) technical ( ) legislative (X) market-based (X) vigilante approach to preventing spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.) ( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses ( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected ( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money ( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks (X) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it (X) Users of email will not put up with it ( ) Microsoft will not put up with it (X) The police will not put up with it (X) Requires too much cooperation from spammers ( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once ( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers ( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists (X) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business Specifically, your plan fails to account for (X) Laws expressly prohibiting it ( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email ( ) Open relays in foreign countries ( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses (X) Asshats (X) Jurisdictional problems ( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes ( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money ( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP ( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack ( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email ( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes ( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches ( ) Extreme profitability of spam ( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft ( ) Technically illiterate politicians (X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers (X) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves ( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering ( ) Outlook and the following philosophical objections may also apply: ( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical (X) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable ( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation ( ) Blacklists suck ( ) Whitelists suck ( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored (X) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud (X) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks ( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually ( ) Sending email should be free (X) Why should we have to trust you and your servers? ( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses (X) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem ( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome ( ) I don't want the government reading my email ( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough Furthermore, this is what I think about you: ( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work. (X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it. (X) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

[REFORMATED] Re:Sorry Anthony.... (2, Funny)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430376)

[GAHHHHH SLASHDOT FORMATTING.]

Sorry Anthony, but your scheme where a company pays you to not spam them advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative (X) market-based (X) vigilante

approach to preventing spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work.

(One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may
have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal
law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
(X) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
(X) The police will not put up with it
(X) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential
        employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
(X) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(X) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(X) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
(X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(X) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
        been shown practical
(X) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
(X) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
(X) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
(X) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
(X) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
(X) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
        house down!

Re:[REFORMATED] Re:Sorry Anthony.... (1)

Dracker (1323355) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430832)

Has this list EVER been pasted without "Asshats" being checked?

Re:[REFORMATED] Re:Sorry Anthony.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31430924)

You are right. It should be moved to a standard text section to save the examiner always having to check the 'asshats' box.

Extortion or Blackmail? (2, Interesting)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430534)

TFA as opposed to TFS says "threatening to smear it with a spam attack of six million emails".

If the "smear" consists of truthful but disparaging statements, it would fall within the bounds of free speech.

What nobody says about this article... (1)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431412)

Is that the insurance company really did owe him, and we're trying to screw him over.

Re:What nobody says about this article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431758)

That the insurance company is taking advantage of the guy's anger and weak extortion attempt to screw him over goes without saying. Pretty much all insurance companies are screwing all of us over every chance they get. It's common knowledge. It's also common knowledge that insurance companies buy laws, and that that's why various kinds of insurance are mandatory in some places. If McDonalds had the kind of money to spend on laws that insurance companies do, every man, woman and child in the U.S. would be required by law to buy two quarter-pounders with cheese a week. Very few of us are dumb enough to ask for $200K to not go ahead and buy a domain name and post a few facts about a slimeball insurance company though - we'd just go ahead and do it and not bother with the stupid extortion thing.

Re:What nobody says about this article... (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31437544)

How did the insurance company screw him out of his life insurance policy? He hasn't died yet.

Also approached by Mr. Digati... (1)

loren (2875) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431498)

An unnamed representative from another firm contacted by Mr. Digati said later, "We would have turned him in ourselves, but his threat got caught in our spam filter." ;-) lol

After reading . . (4, Informative)

G00F (241765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432300)

1. He wasn't going to spam their email servers, he was going to spam the world to smear their name "drag your company name and reputation, through the muddiest waters imaginable".

2. Looks like he wanted a resolution to the problems he was having because he felt they where doing him wrong. A little different than pure extortion. Basically a "You do me right, or I will tell the whole world of how your wrong me"

He started it would cost them millions to undo what he would do to the companies reputation and that he was very mad at them. This may not be as clear cut a case as the summary makes it.

Now to be honest, I also read it here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/08/cyber_extortion_charges/ [theregister.co.uk]

Camelot vs. Python (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31432334)

That was meant to be posted humorously. Here comes the Karma crusade, or that was another movie. I need to brush up on my python skills, an thus leave camelot (perl that is).

Is python more powerful than Perl? Why learn Python? Is it much more powerful? Where is it weaker? Where is it stronger? I liked the twisted python library, but thats pretty much it. Seems like a simple tcl with lisp like dynamic features and lambdas all over the place.

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