[FoRK] Ignoble Death Becomes Russia’s Top Spammer

Ian Andrew Bell FoRK 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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