23-Year-Old Russian Hacker Was Responsible for One-Third of Global Spam

December 3, 2010 11:26 a.m.

Last month, Russia was the No. 1 source of spam in the world. It’s probably because of Oleg Nikolaenko, a 23-year-old who was recently arrested for flooding the world with 10 billion spam emails a day.
Using a network of over 500,000 zombie computers known as the Mega-D botnet, Nikolaenko churned out 10 billion spam emails a day at the height of his operation. These advertised mostly counterfeit goods and herbal remedies–one Rolodex counterfeiter who was his client said he spent $2 million on spam advertising. But starting in 2007, the FBI began closing in on Nikolaenko. He was arrested on Nov. 4th, while in Las Vegas for a car show, and now faces a $250,000 fine and up to three years in prison.
Who knew spam was such a lucrative field, though? The case exposes a complex network of scam artists, money launderers and hackers whose only aim is to ply with grammatically atrocious pitches about sexual aids. Sounds sort of like blogging, only easier.
[Image via Shutterstock]

The original version of the story appears here: http://gawker.com/5705461/23+year+old-russian-hacker-responsible-was-for-one+third-of-global-spam

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