On-the-run spammer caught and canned
One of the world's most prolific spammers has been arrested in the US as he stepped off a plane from the Dominican Republic, where he had been holed up running his illegal operation.
Christopher Smith, originally from Minnesota, has moved his operation around the world to locations such as China and Malaysia, according to anti-spam campaign group Spamhaus. Earlier this year US authorities seized assets from Smith and shut down one of his businesses which was illegally selling pharmaceuticals online.
According to Steve Linford from Spamhaus, who traces the movements of the world's worst spammers, Smith then went on the run with a fake passport.
During this time Spamhaus was in contact with the FBI, sharing information on Smith's movements and activities. Spamhaus was notified by the FBI about Smith's plans to return to the US and Smith was arrested late last week as he stepped off the plane in Minneapolis.
According to Linford, Smith was a particularly prolific spammer.
"He was well up in our top 10," Linford said. But it was his decision to the return to the US which was his undoing.
"It seems that he must have forgotten something and came back but really I think he was just incredibly stupid," said Linford.
Last week's arrest was related to Smith skipping bail and travelling with forged documents, following his initial arrest for illegally selling pharmaceuticals. But Linford isn't too worried that the arrest did not take into account Smith's spamming, as long as he is now out of the picture.
"Behind bars is behind bars," Linford said.
Unsurprisingly, given the close tabs the organisation kept on him, Smith also had a particular axe to grind with Spamhaus.
"At one point he even tried to register the domain Spamhaus.org.uk and offer spam services from it in an attempt to damage our reputation," Linford said.