Spam king sees the light

Following a $1 million fine, arch spammer goes into the anti-spam business

Steve Malone
6 Jun 2006

A spam king has settled a court case with Microsoft and the State of Texas and has agreed never to distribute spam emails again. In fact, he has started up his own anti-spam business.

Ryan Pitylak, who admitted sending 25 million emails every day during his operations in 2004, has agreed to a fine of around $1 million and has apparently been forced to put up his house and luxury BMW up for sale to pay his legal costs. Full details of the settlement have not yet been announced as some of the negotiations are continuing.

According to the spam monitoring service Spamhaus, this made Pitylak the fourth largest spammer in the world at that time. Following a lawsuit in 2005, the Texas Attorney General claimed that since Pitylak set up in 2002, it had operated under 250 different names and sent out millions of emails offering everything from medicines to cheap loans.

In his blog Pitlak says, 'I am pleased to announce that I am now a part of the anti-spam community, having started an Internet security company - Pitylak Security - that offers my clients advice on systems to protect against spam.'

'Over time I have come to see how I was wrong to think of spam as just a game of cat and mouse with corporate email administrators. I now understand why so much effort is put into stopping it.'

While some may take a cynical view of the sinner who repenteth and who hath still to settle with the authorities, there is a long tradition of black hats who have crossed over to the white hats and made a fair living as a security consultant.

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