How To Tell If Your Spam Came From Russia

It’s Social Studies time! Did you know that 22% of the world’s spam comes from Russia? It’s fun to get mail from other countries, isn’t it? Andrew Biliter at the blog has some handy tips on how to tell whether that penis enlargement email was written by a vodka-swigging bearded man sitting in an onion-domed house. Or, you know, just a regular Russian. *shrug*

“You’ve Got a Mail! How To Know If Your Spammer Is Russian” [Russia!]
(Photo: Peter Becker)


Edit Your Comment

  1. tripnman says:

    Yawn. I guess analyzing the sender’s command of the language is one way.

    Or, you can view the headers in the e-mail, do a look-up on the sending IP address and practically know what street they sent it from (or where the zombie computer resides, happily spewing spam created by the malware loaded onto the machine as its owner was surfing Russian porn sites).

    • FLEB says:

      @tripnman: Forging headers, however, is so easy as to make that irrelevant. (Even mail routing headers, IIRC– you just tack on a bunch of fake ones before you send, and it just looks like the real originating server was somewhere in the middle.)

      • SacraBos says:

        @FLEB: The problem is that forging headers realistically is harder than you think. Newbies can be tripped up on it, but you know you can trust your own local MTA (Mail Transfer Agent), and the IP address it reports. This header often reveals the zombie PC in question. Any other received headers are often forged, and if you look at various attributes (format of header, domain name and ip addresses, timestamps), you can tell where the last valid header is, and anything following that is forged.

  2. MisterE says:

    From Russia, with Love.

  3. supercereal says:

    Did someone really need to write an article on this? A quick Google search points out that there are a bunch of countries that send much more spam.

    Spam is spam. I’m going to guess that 99% of people just don’t care where it came from. Heck, most people probably don’t even open it.

    Like tripnman said, a quick look at the IP address (assuming it hasn’t been spoofed) in the email header can uncover this.

  4. B says:

    In Soviet Russia, computers spam you.

  5. Davan says:

    This is why I love Gmail – Ive been amazed at only having maybe 0.0001% of spam emails get through the filter to my inbox. My older Hotmail and Juno accounts get significantly more spam every day.

    Why everyone isnt on Gmail is beyond me (Other than those folks with business email stuffs)

  6. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I love reading the spam scams asking for money.
    Whenever it asks for an “International” passport, you know it’s Russian, because they were required to have an internal passport to travel through the former Soviet Union.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      @Greasy Thumb Guzik:

      It was nice being an American in Russia because your passport basically let you “cut” in line when going through borders while natives watched you in silent anger.
      It also let your driver do some booze smuggling while driving you because border guards never checked our trunk.

  7. cuchanu says:

    Who gives a shit where it comes from?

  8. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    Only the finest spam in the world comes from Russia. Everyone knows that!

  9. brodie7838 says:

    I have to question the factors behind the statistics of this article. I looked up the IP of several of the “enlarge” spam emails I currently have in my spam folders, and not a single one was from Russia (or China, surprisingly enough)

    Here are the Country Origins from each of the WHOIS results:

    USA -California

  10. Whyspir says:


    I do love a good Soviet Russia joke.

    • Tvoretz says:

      @Whyspir: In Soviet Russia, monopoly plays you!

      Personally, I’d rather have my spam come from Russia than Argentina. At least I’ll be able to read it.

  11. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    In Russia, spam comes from you!

    Most of my spam seems to be good old American spam. God Bless our quality American spam!

  12. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    Is there a way to just block emails that originate in other countries? I know there are certainly workarounds on the spammers parts but it would be nice to just block all email that originates in a certain country.

  13. Blueskylaw says:

    очень хорошая статья.

  14. LatimerFantazmical says:

    Crappy unresearched article. The original source does not even mention any examples of how to identify Russian spam.

    All Consumerist did was repost some shribel and did not include any relevant information that the original article even had.

  15. LatimerFantazmical says:

    Here is the translation from the original source, that does not even mention how to identify spam coming from Russia. It does mention a lot of important information that could be usefull for the readers of Consumerist but none of it is included, all was given was a corny vodka joke about the Russians.

    According to the analytical report ” Kaspersky’s Laboratory “, to the devoted development of computer threats in 2008, the basic tendencies of the last year were development of virus technologies, formation criminal virus “экосистемы” and growth the Internet-threats. Thus, Russia has bypassed all by quantity of a dispatched spam and on complexity of nocuous programs.

    As experts ” Kaspersky’s Laboratory ” mark, in 2008 the long epoch of global epidemics has ended, ” 2007-2008 became time of prompt growth of quantity of the Trojan programs focused on theft of the information, in most cases concerning to bank accounts and online-games “. In their opinion, in the world it is formed complex and powerful virus “экосистема” with a division of labour, consisting of киберкриминальных customers and executors of orders.

    The leader in creating viruses in past to year became China. And on complexity and “инновационности” programs on the first seat – the Russian hackers and вирусописатели. According to the report, in past to year there was an insignificant growth of world volume of a spam – on 2,1 % in comparison to the last year. In a rating of the countries-leaders by quantity of a dispatched spam leadership belongs to Russia: the Russian sources of undesirable messages have made 22 %, while sources of the USA – 16 %. In the report also it is spoken, that 2008 frequency of infection with viruses in social networks now considerably exceeds a similar parameter of e-mail.

    In opinion of experts, in 2009 the increase of number киберпреступников is expected. The main reason of it becomes a world economic crisis. According to the report, ” reduction of workstations and closing of IT-projects will lead to that set of highly skilled programmers or will remain without work, or will require money as their incomes will essentially decrease. Such people will involve in киберкриминальный business, and some of them will pay attention to a similar way of earnings “.