E-mail Spam Cut by a Fifth Due to Russian Investigation

Everyone can attest to receiving one of the many Viagra ads that go around email from spammers. However, since last month, the number of these emails going around has dropped by about a fifth. With 200 billion being sent daily, that means that 40 billion have stopped being sent.
On Tuesday, Russian police announced that they were doing their part to try and stem the flow of email spam. They announced an investigation on Igor A. Gusev, the supposed leader of SpamIT.com which is a website that pays people to promote online pharmaceutical sites. However, because Gusev is believed to have left the country, SpamIT has stopped running and the spammers that have lost out on the revenue have stopped spamming because there is no money in it.
The accusations against Gusev in Russia are that he was running an illegal pharmacy and that he didn’t have a license to run a business. However, the real reason is fundamentally that the man has encouraged the spamming of emails.
Russian police searched his apartment and found a few laptops, flash cards and external hard drives. While there are no computer crime allegations yet, once a scan of the materials is completed, more accusations might be made by Russian authorities.
Companies that monitor spam have noticed a tremendous drop in spam since SpamIT.com was closed down. However, users probably won’t see much of a difference because so many people use spam blockers to begin with.
Spamhaus, a large nonprofit that monitors global spam, listed SpamIT as the largest spam organization around the world and shutting it down was a big move.
However, the big question people are wondering is why Russia started to crack down. SpamIT has been around for a while now, but this is the first big investigation. The reason nothing was done in the past was because Russians weren’t the ones who were affected by this. It was Russians who were sending the spam e-mails out to infect Europeans and Americans.
Some speculate that the reason is because Dmitri Medvedev, President of Russia, has been looking to legitimize the Russian Internet Industry. In the past, it has had the reputation of being a playing ground for hackers, but now Medvedev wants to crack down on that.
However, the big speculation comes in from some security companies that suggest that Russian intelligence cooperated with these spammers. By contracting the spammers, they could use them to crash other people’s websites. They could also be used to attack foreign networks.
Russian intelligence denies all allegations about these connections, though.
For now, Mr. Gusev is missing and is believed to have fled the country.

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