California authorities have filed charges against Adconion Direct advertising campaign employees. It is believed that this company has become the largest spammer in history.Four people are accused of illegally breaking into a large number of IP addresses and then using them in spam campaigns.
According to journalist Brian Krebs, the allegations are only part of a larger investigation into Adconion Direct.
Prior to the accusations, Adconion Direct offered advertising technology to major global brands, including Adidas, AT&T, Fidelity, Honda, Kohl’s and T-Mobile.
Last October, the Southern California District Attorney’s Office filed ten charges against four employees of the firm, Jacob Bychak, Mark Manoogian, Petr Pacas, and Mohammed Abdul Qayyum.
In particular, they are accused of wireline fraud, conspiracy, and mail fraud. All four defendants pleaded not guilty on any count.
“Prosecutors say the accused were able to spam from the purloined IP address blocks after tricking the owner of Hostwinds, an Oklahoma-based Internet hosting firm, into routing the fraudulently obtained IP addresses on their behalf”, — says official statement.
According to the indictment, from December 2010 to September 2014 the aforementioned persons entered into a criminal conspiracy to identify blocks of IP addresses registered to other persons, but not used, on their own or for a fee.
The dearth of available IP addresses has created boom times for those engaged in the acquisition and sale of IP address blocks. It also has emboldened scammers and spammers who specialize in absconding with and spamming from dormant IP address blocks without permission from the rightful owners.
Attackers sent messages to hosting companies as if the registrar of inactive IP addresses authorized them to use this space at their discretion. Further, IP addresses were used to send spam.
“Members of the conspiracy would use the fraudulently acquired IP addresses to send commercial email (‘spam’) messages”, — the government charged.