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Spam King to Sing For Feds? 202

Vainglorious Coward writes "Infoworld is repeating the rumours that Alan 'spam king' Ralsky has been arrested by the Feds. With the file sealed for 72 hours, the article claims the underworld is abuzz with concern that, faced with enough evidence to put him in jail, Ralsky will squeal on his associates. We should know in the next couple of days whether any of the roaches scurrying for cover are going to get stomped."
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Spam King to Sing For Feds?

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  • finally... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beuno ( 740018 ) <(argentina) (at) (gmail.com)> on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:33PM (#15230517) Homepage
    Finally they stopped chasing petty warez and went after people who actually profit and annoy the hell out of everyone else...
    • Re:finally... (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Reverend528 ( 585549 )
      Yes, because the government exists for the sole purpose of prosecuting those who annoy us.
    • I must say I get much less spam since they picked up some big spammers. Getting those people in jail helps a lot. Anyone else have this experience?
      • I'm noticing less variety for sure.

        Instead of 700 emails trying to sell 600 different items, I now get 400 emails trying to sell me 30 different items.
    • Petty Warez, you say?

      If you think there's no money in bootlegged musics, movies, software (games and business software), then you need to think again. Sure, there may not be much if you're distributing over P2P (some money going to sites hosting trackers for torrents or authors of the P2P software in question instead) - but if you do it through high-rate FTP sites or even further down to actual CD/DVD sales... there is decent money to be made. Depending on the scale and geography of your operation, either
      • Re:Petty Warez? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Mr. Hankey ( 95668 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @04:49AM (#15231108) Homepage
        It's a waste of taxpayer dollars to go chasing after P2P "warez" traders. Petty, irresponsible and ridiculous. On the other hand, taking down someone who floods the internet with gigabytes, perhaps terabytes of garbage, slowing down the connections of businesses and individuals alike for personal gain, filling everyone's inboxes with lewd advertisements for porn and "enhancements"... There's simply no comparison here.
        • The thing is laws against spam are a bit contrived, whereas laws against warez have a backing in thousands of years of laws against stealing. Is sending junk mail to someone's address illegal? No, so why should sending junk e-mails to someone's e-mail address? I'm not saying I disagree with spam laws, I'm just saying it's not as obvious as you put it.
          • Because in sending junk mail to addresses the sender pays all costs.

            To spam a million addresses, the recipient fronts most of the cost and the chances are the spam is coming from zombie machines anyway. Zombie machines (usually) rely on something illegal happening along the route.
          • SPAM is a different problem entirely. It's an attack against a basic infrastructure component, utilizing offensive and disruptive content to reduce the effectiveness of the email medium. It also consumes a very significant amount of bandwidth, deteriorating the performance of large parts of the network for the benefit of the spammer alone. Bandwidth is in fact metered, even if by interface limitation, and is paid for by each peer on the network from the mail server to the client host.

            The "stealing" you spea
            • I think you and most of the other people who replied to my comment misunderstood what I was saying. What you are saying is obvious to most people (including me), but the problem is just intuitevly saying something is "wrong" makes for bad laws. Warez laws are grounded in thousands of years of laws against stealing that we know make sense. Laws against heavily using resources can be overbearing on people who don't mean any harm. Should we jail people for driving too much? It's more dangerous for others on th
              • And that's where we'll continue to disagree. Warez isn't nearly the problem that SPAM is, and it probably never will be. The government is going to continue to pass laws based on who has enough money to push their agenda through. No amount of consideration given to the comparison is going to change that, until the sort of corporate political lobbying that's currently laying our constitution to waste becomes illegal.
          • Your forgetting that much of this spam was sent from machines that were broken into.. If nothing else that was a crime.

            Plus theres the bestiality sites he was spamming for.

          • I hate to break it to you, but much of the spam I've been receiving lately are phishing scams, including those infamous 419 scams as well as realistic-looking "update your paypal/bank account/credit card info" scams.

            These scams are felony offenses. Illegally downloading an mp3 through bittorrent isn't.
          • I think you post raises the important distinction between what is legal or illegal and what is right or wrong.

            Laws are an imperfect instrument for getting people to do what is right - but they are the best we have. The problems occur when people equate what is legal with what is right rather than starting with what is right. You get classic examples in stock markets where companies cook the books in an entirely legal manner that is fundamentally misleading. It is only when someone decides that what they are
    • Well now, in many ways warez distributors are no different to GPL violators - both take something written by someone else and distribute it in ways that are against the wishes of the original author.

      I'm not saying that they're identical (larger cmomercial warez groups have links with organised crime, for one thing), but morally speaking they're pretty similar.
  • Mob Justice (Score:5, Funny)

    by amoeba47 ( 882560 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:34PM (#15230520)
    I vote for mob justice. Throw him into a locked room filled with the pissed off masses fed up with too much ludicrous junk mail.
    • Naw. Put him in a room filled with robots armed with Ak-47s and DEalge's, which are remote controled via a hacked together fiberoptic cables into a linux box system manned with some geekey slashdotters, who are geniuenly pissed about spam.
    • by r00t ( 33219 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:59PM (#15230587) Journal
      We can start with the MAKE PENIS FAST [rutgers.edu] chain letter, just for fun.

      He won't mind. There is a distinct possibility of failure, but if things go rotten he can always take a few penis pills.

      (one wonders... if vitamin pills contain vitamins and garlic pills contain garlic, what might penis pills contain?)

      • Very straightforward people those chinese. Something got a big dick. Eat it.

        Funny in a way because IF there would be any logic to the idea that you absorb the essence of what you eat, then all the predators would be prey.

        The mighty wolf would be a bit of a deer. The great white a bit of a surfer dude. The anteater a tiny insect.

        But I guess when your chinese you are pretty desperate for anything that might give you a bigger penis.

        Lucky as a true nerd I am above that. Doesn't much matter for jerking off w

    • by Cheapy ( 809643 )
      Or they could throw him into a cell with Bruno, you got quite a few 'member enlargement' packages that "REALLY WORKED!"

      Bruno could show him just how well they worked... ;)
    • Turn him loose on the streets. Rumor will be abuzz that he cut a deal with the Feds, and someone is bound to put a contract on his head, compelling him to turn state evidence.
    • "I vote for mob justice. Throw him into a locked room filled with the pissed off masses fed up with too much ludicrous junk mail."

      Those who have purchased viagara and penis enlargment pills may go to the front of the line.
    • ...would be if he ended up bludgeoned to death [slashdot.org] like that Russian spammer, Vardan Kushnir.

      Although it later turned out to be just a simple case of robbery gone bad [mosnews.com] rather than an irate netizen, Kushnir sure got what was coming!

    • I suggested something similar to this [slashdot.org] (renaming him "Betty Sue") when I mentioned this momentous event in a discussion about another topic ca. two hours prior to this story finally being posted. (not to mention my surprise no one had posted the story itself)
  • I'm sure.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by schmiddy ( 599730 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:38PM (#15230530) Homepage Journal
    the underworld is abuzz with concern that, faced with enough evidence to put him in jail, Ralsky will squeal on his associates

    I'm sure Mr. Ralsky's associates have nothing to fear. An upstanding, honest businessman such as himself would never rat on his friends.
  • Singing (Score:5, Funny)

    by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:39PM (#15230532)
    Thats singing contralto, right? I mean, we are going to punish that slime in an appropriate manner.
  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:40PM (#15230537) Journal
    Can we send this guy to Guantanamo? How about Abu Ghraib? How about if we glue a put a yamaka on his head and drop him off in downtown Tehran.

    • yamaka

      The term you are looking for is "Yarmulke". Unfortunately, it is pronounced exactly like "Yamaka".

      --This message brought to you from the Committee to Pronounce "Goethe" as "Gertha", and paid for by the Office of the Irish Taoiseach (pronounced, of course, "Teeshock").
      • The term you are looking for is "Yarmulke". Unfortunately, it is pronounced exactly like "Yamaka".

        Seeing as the word is Yiddish, which is written with the Hebrew alphabet, there isn't really any definitive spelling in the Roman alphabet. Same is true with Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and a lot of other languages. Phonetic is as good as it's going to get, absent any official body that rules on spellings. The Chinese are trying to do that, which is why what used to be "Peking" is now "Beijing", though the Ch
    • by stinerman ( 812158 ) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Sunday April 30, 2006 @01:04AM (#15230707) Homepage
      Any true Muslim wouldn't mind at all since Jews (and Christians) are People of the Book [wikipedia.org]
      • In the very link [wikipedia.org] you provide, this is listed:

        Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden that which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. 9:29

        O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends/protecters; they are friends/protecters of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them

        • His point, I imagine, is that under Sharia the Jews, for example, have legal protections that heathens do not, including importantly having the protection of the law. There is in fact a very small community of Jews that lives in Iran, and in their parliament (analogue) there are a small number of seats set aside for them. You are right when you say (and quote) that just because they have legal protection and status, they do not necessarily have respect; I would only say that that is an entirely different
        • Oddly enough during the inquisition the jews fled into the muslim controlled areas of spain, portugal and north africa where they were welcomed and protected from the christians.

          How times change huh? I remember when Russia and china were enemies, my parents remember when russia and china were an allies and germany, italy and japan were enemies.

          Who knows maybe one day iran, syria and palestine will be allies and israel will be an enemy. It could happen in a generation.
      • ... by that standard there aren't many true Muslims in Iran. There are, on the other hand, apparently a lot of people reading that totally non-true-Muslim hadif about how the entire world (like, literally, rocks and trees and stuff) hates Jews:

        The day of judgment will not arrive until Muslims fight Jews, and Muslim will kill Jews until the Jew hides behind a tree or a stone. Then the tree and the stone will say, 'Oh Muslim, oh, servant of God, this is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.' Except one type

  • Before a slow and painful execution, he should have his anal sphincter jerked up around his adam's apple, his scrotum tied (in a proper square knot) behind his ears, then beat with a baseball bat until dead. ;)
  • But (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kratei ( 924454 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:46PM (#15230558)
    Great news. But, will this stop or even slow down spam? No. Even if they got half the spammers out there it would keep coming. Why? Too much easy money out there for the taking. Even if they got evey one who operates in the US we would still have a problem overseas . . . and I really doubt that any administration - yes even this one - would invade say Nigeria simply to cut down on spam. Anyway, how are we going to stop chineese spammers? Invade China? Ask their govenment to cut out illegal buisness practices? Yeah right. One spam king may fall, but another will rise in his place.
    • by mrjb ( 547783 )
      Even if they got evey one who operates in the US we would still have a problem overseas
      That's a bit short-sighted. It would get rid of the majority of all spam, considering that the U.S. is the main source of all spam [spamhaus.org]. China, although being the most popular non-US relay for spam [bbc.co.uk], doesn't even come close.

      From my perspective, if I could reliably block all spam originating from abroad, I'd have 99.9% less spam in my inbox. I'd take the occasional Nigerian scam for granted.
    • Doesn't matter, hefty punishments will discourage others from trying it .
    • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @11:28AM (#15232040) Homepage Journal
      When legitimate businesses hire cockroaches to do their "dirty work" of spamming, the roaches aren't worth going after. You can stomp them all day and they just keep coming for the easy money. And they're hard to hit and they know it.

      You have to go after the businesses that hire the scum.

      I am trying that currently. In September I submitted an email address to Ford's "have a dealer in your area contact you about a Hybrid". I got several responses from dealers. Three weeks ago, that email address (which I made specially for that purpose) started receiving spam, one per day. I sent a nastygram to Ford and the dealers that responded to me asking who it was that sold my email address, in violation of their privacy policy as stated on their web site. One of the dealers replied, but the rest of the dealers AND Ford ignored my emails.

      Since then I have tried other emails to two of Ford's complaint addresses. One was ignored, and the other bounced with a "relaying denied" error.

      They know they are selling us out, and they really don't care. Businesses don't care about anything that doesn't cost them money, and if it MAKES them money, they care even less. Until it affects their wallet in the form of fines, legislation, and accountability, it won't stop.

      In my case it actually looks like the company that Ford pays to run their "have a dealer contact you" page ("morpace.com") is actually the one that is harvesting the email addresses that Ford's customers enter on the web page.. they forward your requet to the dealers per their business arrangement with Ford, AND add your name to their own internal spam mailing list that activates a few months later so you don't suspect their client (Ford) of having sold you out. You'd think that if Ford found out about this they'd be pissed and that would hit someone in the wallet, but so far my complaints have fallen only on deaf ears. I'm going to try calling them on Monday to see if anyone cares, though I'm guessing "no".

      It amazes me that Ford would risk pissing off a customer that is looking to buy a $28,000 product from them over maybe a quarter made by selling their email address to spammers.
      • On the other hand, it *could* be just another trojan sitting on a Ford dealers computer, reading his conversations, extracting email adresses, sending it up to his master...

        I doubt you will get anywhere with this method.
        • I doubt you will get anywhere with this method.

          You're probably right... but what else can we do? bend over and take it? Not all problems have a "good" solution, and I suspect this is one such problem.
  • by Fantasio ( 800086 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:54PM (#15230574)
    With this kind of news, I'm in a good mood !

    If Ralsky deserves only one second of jail for each minute infuriated users have lost deleting his crap, this could ammount to thousands of years of jail.

    I'll be generous and I'll accept that his time in jail be divided by ten if he tells the Feds everything he knows !

    Cheers !

  • Those who live in toilet paper houses should not fling poo else they find themselves being used to wipe the backside of someone bigger and meaner.

    I have no idea how this statement applies; it just seems appropriate.

  • Rumor control... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eggplant62 ( 120514 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:57PM (#15230582)
    Take this whole thing with a grain of salt. There has been no reputable source that has provided this information; it's simply a rumor. Steve Linford has posted on news.admin.net-abuse.email [tinyurl.com] that he knows nothing about Ralsky being taken into custody, and other reliable sources in the antispam forces known to me have no further information to corroborate this story.

    Still, it's good news if it turns out to be true. I guess if we don't hear anything by Tuesday or Wednesday, given enough time for the rumored 72 hour seal on Ralsky's indictment to expire, we'll know whether this is bullshit or not.
  • He'll be squealing for his new associates.
  • by Bellhead ( 236422 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @12:34AM (#15230659) Homepage
    If this rumor is true, it'll mean major sweeps of the spam underworld and many of its hangers-on: Ralsky has been behind bars before, and I doubt he's willing to go back.

    According to the Spam Daily News - (http://www.spamdailynews.com/publish/FBI_raid_shu ts_down_world_most_prolific_spammer.asp)

    However, Ralsky acknowledges that his success with spam arose out of a less-than-impressive business background. In 1992, while in the insurance business, he served a 50-day jail term for a charge arising out of the sale of unregistered securities. And in 1994, he was convicted of falsifying documents that defrauded financial institutions in Michigan and Ohio and ordered to pay $74,000 in restitution.

    Of course, this could bode well or ill for prosecutors: Ralsky has been in jail, perhaps for just long enough to be scared of it. The question is: did he get hard enough to stare them down?

    My bet is that he'd do the deal: he's a con artist, after all, but he's shared a bunk with real hardened felons, and that's likely to be the kiss-of-death for his co-conspirators when push comes to shove.


    • If you make a million and give back 750K and serve 50 days in jail then your profit was 250K. I would go to jail for 50 days if somebody gave me 250K. Hell I would do that once or twice a year especially in a white collar jail.
  • by achesloc ( 697690 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @01:59AM (#15230789)
    If (Feds.prosecute() == Spammer)
    else if (Feds.prosecute() == AnybodyElse)

  • poor guy (Score:5, Funny)

    by spongman ( 182339 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @04:04AM (#15231034)
    If you're reading this Alan, I've got some excellent 'Get Out Of Jail Free' pills you might be interested in...
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @05:31AM (#15231165)
    Simple spammer torture:

    Make the spammer have one of his own penis enlargements he's always telling us are so great & just as he's nice, red & sore after the operation, start feeding him the viagra he's alway telling us is so great. :-)


  • by gijoel ( 628142 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @05:48AM (#15231185)
    Hello my name is Tunde Bamake and I am writting to you to offer an amazing deal.

    Recently an associate of mine Alan Rasky was arrested by the FBI on charges of sending spam and unsolicted emails. I assure you my friend that these charges are totally unfounded and he really needs your help.

    He has $10,000,000 ten million dollars sitting in a Swiss bank account which he needs to pay for his lawyers. He can not get that money because the FBI will confiscate it if he trys to access it.

    My friend, I am asking you as a Christian to help my friend Mr Rasky with little effort from yourself. All you have to do is allow us to transfer the $10,000,000 TEN MILLION DOLLARS through your personal account.

    This will be at no risk or effort to yourself. Mr Ramsky understands the effort you will be going through and thus is offering you $250,000 TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for your help.

    Please my friend, I ask you to help Mr Ramsky in his hour of need.
  • by njdj ( 458173 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @06:07AM (#15231236)

    Which of the following wastes more of your time:

    1. Spam
    2. Unsubstantiated rumors on Slashdot

    Personally, I have a pretty good spam filter so it's #2 by a large margin.

  • It doesn't matter if the rumor is true or not, he now has to worry about his "friends" making sure he doesn't sing.

    Hmmmm... Car accident? Overdose of viagra? Die jumping out the window of a basement apartment?

  • mob mentality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @07:35AM (#15231363)
    It's been interesting reading over the replies and how quickly mob mentality gets perpetuated. One dude wanted to beat him with a baseball bat until dead. Spam is annoying and intrusive, but what's spooky is how the witch-hunt sets in when so many people feed off each other. Besides, if you think this one bust is going to stop spam and phishing you're sadly mistaken. People need to be educated on email use just like they do for using their computer. The spam/phishing problem is largely an ignorance issue. Maybe Best Buy should start including some web-use educational material in that shrink wrap.
    • Spam/phishing is not only of ignorance. I use gmail for my mail and still get a dozen spams a day in my inbox [and ten times that in my junk folder].

      The problem many people have with spam is not just that its a time waster but that they're largely powerless to do anything about it. They view being sent spam as a token that someone else thinks they're more important than you are and has no respect for your ability to communicate.

      At least that's how I view it. When I get spam in the inbox I ask myself "Who
    • Re:mob mentality (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deacon ( 40533 )
      Here is an experiment we can try to help you understand how things got this way.

      Let me come over and follow you around everwhere you go. At random intervals I shall tap you on the head from behind with a pencil. After you flip out (after an hour? a day?) and try to tear my head off, I will chastise you about your over-reaction, and how I was just tapping you with a pencil, etc. etc., and how I fear you might join a mob of People Against Pencil Tapping.

      Now imagine if someone had been sending you 300 pencil t

  • opt out (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @08:28AM (#15231453) Homepage Journal
    He can always out-out of that prison sentence, right? Just a mail with "remove me"...
  • Spam King going to Sing Sing?

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison