A Scottish man was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for spamming out e-mails laced with malware and stealing data.
A 33-year-old Scottish man was sentenced today to 18 months
in prison in the U.K.
for spamming out malware-infected e-mails and stealing data.
The sentencing today of Matthew Anderson of Drummuir, Aberdeenshire,
Scotland, brought to an end to an investigation first launched four years
ago. According to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),
Anderson was part of a ring that
targeted hundreds of businesses in the U.K.
with malware starting in 2005. The conspiracy
by members of a cyber-crew called m00p that spammed out
millions of e-mails laced with malware, authorities said.
It was Anderson's job to manage
the operation by composing the e-mails and distributing them with virus
attachments, police said. The malware allowed Anderson
to access private
data stored on computers
without the knowledge of the computer's owner,
according to police.
"This organized online criminal network infected huge numbers of
computers around the world, especially targeting U.K.
businesses and individuals," said Detective Constable Bob Burls, from the MPS
Central e-Crime Unit, in a statement. "Matthew Anderson methodically
users not only for his own financial gain but also
violating their privacy. They used sophisticated computer code to commit their
The investigation resulted in the arrests of three men-including Anderson-on
June 27, 2006.
No charges were filed against one of the men, while the other pleaded guilty in
. According to police, a number of computers were seized at
residential addresses in both countries in addition to the suspects' servers as
part of the investigation.
When online, Anderson used the
profile names of "aobuluz" and "warpigs," authorities said,
and operated his illegal business behind the front of an online company
called Optom Security that offered security software.
Among the evidence police found were screenshots on Anderson's
computers taken from other people's Webcams as well as copies of wills, medial
reports, password lists and other content, police said.
"The Internet means criminals have increased opportunities to commit
crime internationally; however, I'd like to reassure the public that the
international law enforcement and antivirus companies' response is increasingly
sophisticated," Burls said. "As this case shows, criminals can't hide
online and are being held to account for their actions. A complex investigation
like this demonstrates what international cooperation can achieve."