FBI accused Russian Oleg Nikolaenko of sending nearly a third of all spam in the world. According to the Bureau, his spam-network of 510,000 computers sends out about 10 billion messages a day. Although American accomplices of the spammer had been caught, there is no threat for Nikolenko in Russia, lawyers claim.
The main "spam perpetrator" of the world is a 23-year-old Moscow resident Oleg Nikolaenko, as it follows from the materials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) laid out on the U.S. site The Smoking Gun. According to the FBI, Nikolaenko is behind the spam network Mega-D. This network involves almost 510,000 infected computers across the globe. Every day about ten billion spam e-mails sent out through the network, which is slightly more than 32% of the world e-mail spam.
FBI accuses Nikolaenko not only in violation of laws against spam, but also in "aiding and abetting mail fraud", because using the Mega-D billions of emails with advertising fake watches Rolex, offers to buy fake certificates and prescriptions, illegal "plant medicines”, and even drugs had been sent out.
Often the users themselves are unaware that their computer is involved in the spam network, the director of the department of audit company InformZaschita Maxim Emm says. Moreover, very often such programs are not detected by antivirus software and can be seen only through a suspicious network activity. The largest botnets count hundreds of thousands of computers and are used not only to send spam, but also for DDoS attacks, i.e. attacks, when the channels of communication service providers are overloaded with meaningless inquiries from all over the internet.
"The owners of the bot-nets can manage these computers, such as sending spam through them, so that it looks like as hundreds of thousands of ordinary computer users send e-mail", the expert adds. For this reason such networks are very difficult to fight with - one can not deny sending mail from all users' computers.
It is even harder to find the owner of such networks. American law enforcement agencies managed to reach Nikolaenko only after having detained two spammers in the U.S. - Jody Smith, and Lance Atkinson. They provided details of their dealings with Nikolaenko to the investigation; he used the online nickname of Docent. In particular, Atkinson told investigators that "all the major spam network links are located in Russia, and the same person manages all of them.
According to the FBI, Nikolaenko acquired about $ 459,000 from Atkinson from June to December 2007. "This amount, in fact, was earned through fraud in the network and this is only one small part that we know about", FBI officials say, assuming that earnings spam network was many times more.
Along with investigating financial transactions of Nikolaenko, the FBI agents have gained access through the courts to two accounts in Gmail, used by spammers. On November, 2 Google gave the FBI a disc that contained all the electronic correspondence with one of them. It was clear that Docent’s home was near Moscow.
It is unclear whether Oleg will be punished. He is not available on his Moscow telephone, as mentioned in the FBI report, and it is even unclear whether he is in Russia.
Source: © Gazeta.Ru, 01.12.2010