A Weblog About Topics and Issues Discussed in the Book Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams

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January 4, 2005

No more exploits from Sanford Wallace

Sanford WallaceIn the spyware case of FTC versus SmartBot.net et al, Spam King Sanford Wallace has agreed to a preliminary injunction.

Under the deal, signed last month, Wallace agreed to remove from his web sites "any software script, code, or other content that exploits the web browser security vulnerabilities referenced in Microsoft Bulletins MS03-032 and MS03-040, or any other web browser security vulnerabilities, to install, download, or deposit onto any computer any software code, program, or content, without the computer user’s authorization."

Perhaps as a result of the order, the most notorious site controlled by Wallace, default-homepage-network.com, is no longer online. Freevegasclubs.com, one of the sites supporting his new DJ career in Vegas, is still up but doesn't appear to contain exploit code.

The order (a copy of which is here) doesn't mean the end of the FTC's lawsuit against Wallace. Nor has Wallace admitted any wrongdoing or agreed to the FTC's allegations. There's a preliminary pre-trial conference scheduled for January 28.

In the meantime, looks like the FTC will be going over Wallace's finances with a microscope. The order calls for him to release his complete financial records.

For the technical details on how Wallace was allegedly infecting peoples' PCs with spyware, check out this affidavit from Stephen Gribble, a computer science professor at the University of Washington.

Interestingly, one of the affidavits filed in support of the FTC's complaint is from Ari Bluman, an executive with 24/7 Real Media. Wallace had apparently paid 24/7 to run pop-up ads at web sites participating in 24/7's network, including KingofChaos.com and CDMSports.com. But then people starting noticing that Wallace's pop-ups were taking control of visitors' computers, changing their start pages, and opening their CD-ROM drive. (Bluman's affidavit is here.)

Posted by brian at January 4, 2005 8:16 AM


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