[FoRK] Ignoble Death Becomes Russia’s Top Spammer
Ian Andrew Bell FoRK
Tue Jul 26 16:08:28 PDT 2005
July 27, 2005 - King of spam comes to a violent end
From Jeremy Page in Moscow
ONE of Russia?s most infamous spammers has been found beaten to death
in his apartment, prompting thinly veiled jubilation among many of
the country?s estimated 14 million internet users.
Vardan Kushnir, 35, had bombarded almost every e-mail user in the
country for years with unsolicited adverts for the American Language
Centre that he ran. Police, who found his body on Monday, said that
he had been hit several times on the head with a heavy object and his
apartment in central Moscow had been ransacked. They declined to
comment on a motive for the murder.
The newspaper Kommersant quoted detectives as saying that Mr Kushnir
had met a girl in a nightclub and invited her and two other women
back to his flat, where they had drugged him. He had most likely
woken when their accomplices arrived to rob his flat and been killed
in the ensuing scuffle, they said.
?This was not a contract killing or revenge for spam,? a detective said.
But Russian media could not resist speculating that Mr Kushnir had
been killed by an irate recipient of his e-mail advertisements. ?An
Ultimate Solution to the Spam Problem,? one headline read. ?The
Spammer Had it Coming,? read another. ?Ignoble Death Becomes Russia?s
Top Spammer,? read a third.
Mr Kushnir was so prolific that in 2003, Andrei Korotkov, then the
Communications Minister, began a campaign to retaliate. With the help
of Rambler.ru, an internet browser, he bombarded Mr Kushnir?s office
with a thousand automated telephone calls in one morning.
?I want to warn you that if you continue your illegal activity, then
the necessary measures will be taken not just by me,? the message said.
Russia has no specific anti-spam legislation and laws restricting
database access are rarely enforced. It can cost as little as $100
(?57) to mail-bomb a million users.
Many Russians now buy software that blocks all e-mails from the .ru
domain. And people sending e-mail from a .ru address often find their
messages are blocked by servers in Western countries.
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