Between the hacker attack, e-mail ``bombings,'' and court orders, it's been a tough week for Wallace, the self-proclaimed king of junk e-mail, also known as spam.
Loathed by online legions, Wallace's company was declared the subject of a massive e-mail assault on Monday. Denizens of Internet newsgroups dedicated to the eradication of junk e-mail had declared that Monday would be Cinco de Mayo Cyberpromo Mailbomb Day.
Wallace said that effort was easily deflected.
``A few of us really tried,'' wrote one anti-spam activist afterward on the newsgroup news.admin.net-abuse.email. The writer admonished others for not joining in to send useless e-mail to Wallace. ``SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!'' he wrote.
Then on Tuesday, Wallace took a round of hits in his courtroom battles with online services, as he agreed to a settlement with CompuServe that will cost him $65,000; and a judge in Los Angeles found that Cyber Promotions' junk e-mail constituted trespassing on the computers of an Internet service provider there called EarthLink.
Wallace is now barred from sending unsolicited e-mail to subscribers of both of those services.
And then came the big attack.
On Tuesday afternoon, according to Wallace, hackers invaded his computer system and virtually shut down his company, including the operations of 3,000 clients who independently channel bulk e-mail through Cyber Promotions' computers.
Wallace said the unidentified hacker reached in and launched a
command that flooded his computer system with millions of requests for hardware identification numbers, something called arp requests.
It was a new kind of hacker attack and took all night and three independent computer security experts to sort out and fix, he said.
``We look at it in a positive way,'' Wallace said. ``We learned how to overcome something that a lot of people might have to deal with in the future. We'll probably be the heroes.''
Still, Wallace said he was having trouble yesterday in an effort to interest law-enforcement officials in his plight. ``It's very difficult to trace these attacks [and] very hard to tell the authorities to take action.''
The militant critics certainly aren't giving up. ``See you next year,'' the same newsgroup writer said of the May 5 Mailbomb Day.
Others concerned about junk e-mail said hacking was the wrong way to address the issue. Cyber Promotions ``has a right to do a legal business,'' said Ram Avrahami, an anti-spam activist from Virginia.
In the CompuServe case, a federal judge in Columbus, Ohio, had ruled earlier this year that Cyber Promotions was trespassing when it deluged CompuServe subscribers with junk e-mail. The out-of-court settlement, still subject to court approval, requires Cyber Promotions to pay CompuServe $65,000, possibly by purchasing advertising, to cover legal fees.