Russia Goes After 1 Guy, Worldwide Spam Drops By 1/5

After Russian authorities started an investigation into alleged spammaster Igor A. Gusev, worldwide spam has dropped by a sustained one-fifth.

Gusev, who lived openly is Moscow, is accused of being the kingpin behind, which paid other spammers to advertise prescription drugs. Spamhaus listed it as the world’s single largest sponsor of spam. The site is now closed.

Why Russian authorities chose to exercise their authority is unclear, but the site went offline two weeks before the President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia met with Silicon Valley execs. Medvedev has been on a campaign to clean up Russia’s internet image, which has been seen as a veritable haven for hackers, spammers, virus-coders, and smut peddlers.

E-Mail Spam Falls After Russian Crackdown [NYT]


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  1. Supes says:

    I’d bet quite a bit of money that he’s back at it within 6 months.

    • eddieck says:

      Execute him and I don’t think he will be.

      Unfortunately, someone else will just take his place.

      • Nighthawke says:

        Over there, they don’t call it an execution. The obits usually state that the victim died of a “brain hemorrhage”.

        Oh, Mr. Guzev will be either shot, or be up in Siberia counting trees. They are very efficient in carrying out justice over there.

      • Firethorn says:

        Then you take him out as well. ;)

        Really, I always figured that we could drop the amount of spam by an OOM if we killed or otherwise removed all access to the internet(including cutouts/proxies), less than 100 people.

    • Mom says:

      Whether or not he’s back at it, spam levels will be back to where they were. There’s still money to be made by selling fake Viagra, and someone else will move in to fill the void.

    • bassbeast says:

      Buy y0ur cheap medz now with free delivery of w1fe and extension of your monh00d.

      Spam never rots.

  2. SG-Cleve says:


  3. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Can someone explain how the pharmaceutical spam works? Do they take your money and run, send fake pills, or is it real pills sold illegally? I have a hard time believing anyone would order drugs from a clearly hijacked email address, with all kinds of bizarre characters to avoid spam filters (eg, “Ci@alis”) but judging from the sheer quantity of spam that I get, I’m guessing people out there are doing it.

    • gitmo234 says:

      90% of it is referral money. You click their link, they get a % of the sell, or similar method. A lot of them are the actual pills, but there are the shady places too. Long story short, they send 1 million email, 1% will actually buy something by clicking the link, and the sender of that link gets a certain percentage of each sale.

      • Azzizzi says:

        I think it would be a lot lower than one percent who click on the link.

        • nonsane says:

          There was a journalist who made his own fake site and spammed it to see how much people would actually spent
          out of 1 million spam sent he got 15 people that went to the site and bought something, average sale ~100$ if i recall correctly.

          it is a numbers game for sure.

        • Mom says:

          Indeed. UCSD does a lot of research in this area. They hacked into a botnet and redirected some of the botnet traffic to their own servers. What they found is that they got one purchase for every 12 million spam that were sent out.

          They had a much easier time attracting new machines into the botnet. 1 in 10 people clicked on the evil link in their email, which would have infected their machine.

    • Azzizzi says:

      I always wondered the same thing. Who would buy something from someone who works so hard to defeat your spam filters?

    • Why is this on Consumerist? says:

      Generally the pills are counterfeit and could be extremely dangerous to take.

    • Mom says:

      I went to a presentation on this a couple of weeks ago. Basically, there’s a guy at the top who does fulfillment, taking money and sending out product. That would be this Russian guy who got put out of business. He “hires” a bunch of people to send spam, and pays them a cut on every order that comes from their spam. The spammers hire space on botnets to send spam, and the botnet herders pay hackers for viruses and such to take over the machines. In other words, there’s a whole industry that’s supported by fake Viagra, not just this one Russian.

      The interesting statistic that was presented was that the Viagra sellers get one sale (approx $100) for every 12 MILLION spam sent out.

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    Now how will I enlarge my male member? He was the only connection I had!

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I guess the majority of people still have trouble with spam? My filter is really, really efficient. I never see spam emails.

  6. StuffThingsObjects says:

    Prince Abolaghamalo, NO!!!!!!

  7. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Off topic, but Spammasteer Gusev would be a great name for a DJ.

  8. George4478 says:

    Thank God! My penis cannot get any larger without risking a hernia and my house is already full of horny Asian women.

    This terror needed to stop!

  9. dreamfish says:

    Much as people would like to both celebrate and point fingers, I believe the USA is still the number one spam source for the world.

    I’m still firmly convinced SMTP servers should have a maximum on the number of outgoing mails allowed per hour – something like 10 per individual account.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      10 per hour? When I’m really busy, I can easily send more than 10 emails an hour.

    • mattarse says:

      There are many many legitimate jobs where that would be an unreasonably low number.

    • Supes says:

      More like 50 an hour.

      That’s still waaaay less than spammer send.

    • AnthonyC says:

      I once read about an idea to require e-mail senders’ computers to solve a simple math problem (say, one that takes 1-5 seconds) for each outgoing e-mail. No need for a hard limit on e-mails, but no more sending hundreds of millions of messages from one computer, either. Not sure it’s technically workable, though.

  10. BigHeadEd says:

    There are “smut peddlers” on the interwebs? I am shocked.

  11. Hungry Dog says:

    I need to move my smut peddling business where exactly?

  12. sgtsquid says:

    I think Monster and their “affiliates” are still number one. My spam dropped dramatically after several nasty emails to Monster’s investor relations department. That’s right, investor relations, not customer service.

  13. JHerrick79 says:

    Sometimes I forget that spam is still a problem. Ever since I switched to Gmail, I never see any spam.

    • Mom says:

      I did notice that before this guy got taken down, I had about 600 spam in my gmail spam folder. Now that he’s been down for a month, it’s more like 250.

  14. jcargill says:

    Will my cialis still be shipping?

  15. mbnovik says:

    Hmmm… Why now? I guess he spammed the wrong person in Russia or they finally learned how to check e-mail…

  16. Plasmafox says:

    Many of the best sites for obtaining working, clean cracks are Russian. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your particular stance on copyright law.

  17. Sheogorath says:

    Alright, citizen, lets be clear now. You spam by our rules or you try to type without fingers, da?

  18. KrispyKrink says:

    Last time Russians went after a Spam King, they shot him in the head on the street.

  19. Mcshonky says:

    This guy had more power than the tea party, Mamma Grizzly and Glenn Beck combined

  20. Gorbachev says:

    …and what about the 100 other spammers operating from Russia.

  21. TPA says:

    Great! Now to just get rid of the remaining 4 of the 5 and we’ll be spam free! Yippee!!

  22. Dr.Wang says:

    Stop Spam: on your tax form: donate $5 of your federal tax to fund the international spam/scam/virus hunting SWAT team. The funds operate a worldwide military unit that tracks spammers and their ilk, breaks into their homes at night, and shoot everyone inside the residence. No trials, no pleading, no prison, no probation. I bet this would end spam within a year. (I don’t actually support actions like this, but it is fun to imagine)

  23. Puddy Tat says:

    And I would bet when he gets caught by the russian police they are going to beat him pimp style.

  24. lucky13 says:

    20% reduction in spam from one guy? 1 down, 4 to go until the world is spam free!

  25. prplmnky says:

    Next thing you know, Russia will put a trade embargo on Koy4Goff and Popupistan. Make rain, rain go away. Add sizzle to your summer.