Sanford Wallace, a man from Las Vegas, has been charged with six counts of e-mail fraud, three counts of intentional damage to a computer and two counts of criminal contempt. This is all despite being sued by Facebook in 2009 and being ordered not to access Facebook’s network by a federal judge.
Prosecutors of Mr Wallace allege that he wrote a piece of software that managed to break Facebook’s spam filters and used social engineering to try and get users to reveal their account details. They say that Mr Wallace’s program posted a message on people’s Facebook walls – supposedly from their friends – trying to make them visit a website where the user’s Facebook account details were harvested. These users were then redirected to an affiliate website which Mr Wallace earned ‘substantial revenue’ from. If this was not bad enough, the software then gained a list of the user’s friends and reposted spam messages on their walls.
It is claimed that over 27 million spam messages were sent in total and around 500,000 Facebook accounts were compromised due to this software. Sanford Wallace denies these charges, however, and has been released on bail. He could potentially be looking at a prison sentence of up to 10 years for these crimes.