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Spam IT

Russia's Biggest Spammer Brutally Murdered 1035

Posted by timothy
from the but-what's-the-motive-detective-columbo? dept.
Karellen !-P writes "Vardan Kushnir, a notorious russian spammer who headed the English learning centers, the Center for American English, the New York English Centre and the Centre for Spoken English, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head."
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Russia's Biggest Spammer Brutally Murdered

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  • by FFFish (7567) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:49PM (#13157805) Homepage
    It's terrible that something like that would happen. It isn't legal and it isn't moral.

    On the other hand, this message is about all the empathy and concern I can work myself up to. Good riddance to bad trash.
    • It's terrible that something like that would happen. It isn't legal

      It should be!

      Sic semper spammeris!

      ^_^

    • I have a feeling that this has less to do with his spamming efforts and more to do with the mafia. From what I understand, a lot of spammers, script kiddies, and crackers in Russia have connections to the mob. The reason for this is that the mafia tends to use cyber-warfare (such as DDOSes) for blackmail, and spam for revenue generation. Apparently the spam networks are quite sophisticated, with one person finding and validating addresses then selling them to the highest bidder.

      In other words, things may be more complex then they seem...
      • I was thinking mafia too, but more along the lines that some godfather who was having problems with his winkie recieved a viagra ad...
      • Russia is currently one of the most "bent" countries in the world. Pretty much nobody does business there of any sort, let alone shady stuff like hacking and spamming, without having connections to the mob.

        Keep that in mind next time somebody tells you what a great deal allofmp3.com is. The cost is actually a few pennies a song plus some poor sap's kneecaps somewhere.
        • Pretty much nobody does business there of any sort, let alone shady stuff like hacking and spamming, without having connections to the mob.

          That's not quite true. The Russian culture is certainly full of corruption given that the KGB effectively became the Mafia, but Moscow has become a booming city ripe with economic opportunity. New freeways, inexpensive cars, waterparks, big businesses (Sun's Russian HQ is right across the street from my father-in-law!), and Aerospace technologies are just a few areas where Moscow has been booming. Another big area is restaurant chains. There are now more international food chains in Russia than ever before!

          Russia is something of a third world country that's pulling itself back up into an economic power. Along the way there will be TONS of greed and corruption, but don't confuse that with the honest growth that is occurring. :-)
          • by gothfox (659941) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:30PM (#13158308) Homepage

            Please, don't spoil everything. As a fellow russian, I find this +5 informative posts about white bear mobs walking around here drinking vodka, making botnets from Comcast customers and firing AKA-47's at one another highly amusing.

            Anyway, how about making Jul 25 an international anti-spam day? It just writes itself in the calendar, really it does...

          • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:34PM (#13158361)
            Um, Russia should be the *definition* of a second world country... First world was (roughly) the NATO group, Second world was (roughly) Warsaw Pact, Third world was everybody else.

            Just being unbearably pendantic.
    • yeah I'm there too, torn between poor guy and hooray.

      so i suppose my comment on this is:

      huh.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:58PM (#13157924)
      ... that we're all available to support each other's alibis.
    • by Frumious Wombat (845680) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:05PM (#13158015)
      Another day on the froniers of capitalism.

      About 10 years ago (and if it's a lot better there now, sorry for outdated information), the NY Times had two articles summing up the new Russia.

      One was on business practices, with the comment, "to enforce a contract, you often have to take out a contract".

      The other was on a clinic doing heroin detox. The basic system was thugs would patrol the streets, find people doing heroin, club them into submission, drag them to the clinic and chain them to a bed, and then let them dry out cold turkey. The Doctor in charge said, "of course this is not the optimal treatment, but here ... ".

      Looks like our spammer's fate falls under one of those two categories of "solutions". As others have said, it probably wasn't the spam, it was, "just business".
  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:52PM (#13157836)
    Vladimir Putin unsubscribes the way we all want to.
  • by Linus Torvaalds (876626) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:52PM (#13157837)
    Karma's a bitch.

    I'm sure there will be plenty of people thinking that somebody got a little too pissed off with spam, but try and remember that these types of spammers associate with organised crime (e.g. by hiring virus writers to get them bot nets).
    • Knowing Russia and Russians, and I do, he probably got his head bashed in after a drunken argument over someones wife, all generally misinterpreted, with the "injured party" sneaking back afterwards with his friends to do the deed. Russia is a squalid, rotten, barbarous country, where extraordinary levels of physical violence are the accepted norm, and you had better know Russian if you go there, tavaresh, because random passers by will beat you if you don't.

      The spamming was probably just incidental.

      • by NotoriousQ (457789) on Monday July 25, 2005 @02:13PM (#13158784) Homepage
        I also know Russians...and I agree with a lot of your comment except this

        you had better know Russian if you go there, tavaresh, because random passers by will beat you if you don't

        No they will not (at least in Moscow). If you do not speak Russian, most people will think you are either a rich tourist or someone in politics. In either case you may be too important to get into a fight with. However, they will steal your wallet.

      • We need more murder details to determine motive...

        If:
        strangled with underwear or nylons - wife/sex related
        beat to death with high heel shoe - wife/sex related
        strangled with mouse cable - spam related
        beat to death with keyboard - spam related
        beat to death with baseball bat - mafia related
        shot 8 times in the head - terrorist related (007)
        body disappears - Gulag related
  • by Tal Cohen (4834) <tal@[ ]um2.org ['for' in gap]> on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:52PM (#13157839) Homepage
    The post (and the first few replies) seem to assume that he was murdered since he was a spammer. Somehow, I doubt that.
  • by ShatteredDream (636520) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:52PM (#13157841) Homepage
    Now that his head has been bashed into 50% its original size, do those penis enlargments work on the "big head?"
    • 'Now that his head has been bashed into 50% its original size, do those penis enlargements work on the "big head?"'

      I thought we all assumed his head was bashed with an enlarged penis. (You can get low low rates on enlarged penises! Refinance at only 1.5% Click here!)
  • by mind21_98 (18647) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:53PM (#13157847) Homepage Journal
    Violence against anyone is wrong, unless it's in self-defense. I don't think he was killed because he was a spammer--he was probably killed in a robbery or confrontation over some other reason. We'll have to wait until the police find out more about what happened.
  • by kdark1701 (791894) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:53PM (#13157851) Homepage
    if he was beaten with a can of spam?
  • 1st 3 comments (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lilmouse (310335) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:53PM (#13157853)
    The first three comments:

    1. Shouldn't kill even spammers.
    2. This happened b/c he was spamming.
    3. Yeah! Kill the bastards!

    That about sums up the comments...

    FWIW, he was probably offed by a business partner who wanted a bigger cut of the profits, or by the mob, because he wasn't paying them off. This is Russia we're talking about here.

    --LWM
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:54PM (#13157866)
    > He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.

    From a hidden microphone at the scene of the murder:

    "You are receiving *WHAM* this blow to the head *WHAM* because you are part of a *WHAM* specially-selected list of *WHAM* people who agreed to receive *WHAM* blows to the head *WHAM*.

    To stop *WHAM* receiving these *WHAM* blows to the head, please *WHAM* email us at no-more-please@optout.blowtothehead. com and *WHAM* we will remove you from our list of *WHAM* blow-to-the-head-club members *WHAM* (heh, we said "club"!) *WHAM* within 24 to 48 hours."

  • well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by atheist666 (525252) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:55PM (#13157876)
    best... spam-blocker... EVER!
  • by jgaynor (205453) <jon@gaynoQUOTEr.org minus punct> on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:55PM (#13157884) Homepage
    -He's using that big open relay in the sky now . . .

    -In New Jersey, killing a spamlord is only a class B misedemeanor . . .

    -Whatta you call a spammer with a crushed skull lying in a pool of his own blood?

    A good start!

    Seriously though that's pretty f*cked up. Spammer or not, no one deserves that.
  • by UESMark (678941) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:56PM (#13157888)
    The fact that the murder weapon appear to have been a copy of O'Reilly's "Postfix: The Definitive Guide" is condidered a relevant clue at this point.
  • incredible (Score:5, Funny)

    by JVert (578547) <corganbilly@@@hotmail...com> on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:56PM (#13157892) Journal
    He died after suffering repeated blows to the head

    Whoever did it must have some strong lungs.
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:56PM (#13157898) Homepage
    That SpamAssassin really takes its job seriously, yo.
  • Dying in tiny slices (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TapestryDude (631153) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:57PM (#13157905) Homepage
    I remember reading about how Steve Jobs motivated the original Mac team to speed up the boot. "Millions of people will boot their Macs every day; if you can shave 30 seconds off that boot time, it's the equivalent of three human lives every day". If that concept is true (debatable, but stick with me) then spammers, in the aggregate, are killing dozens or even hundreds of people a day ... a few seconds here and a few seconds there. So, in this respect, what goes around comes around.
  • by Alcimedes (398213) on Monday July 25, 2005 @12:59PM (#13157946)
    In Soviet Russia, SPAM unsubscribes YOU!
  • Opt-out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wowbagger (69688) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:01PM (#13157971) Homepage Journal
    It sounds to me like he simply failed to opt-out of the "Beat your head in" club.

    They must have purchased a list with his name on it, and he failed to opt-out, so they had every right to offer their product to him.

    After all, we wouldn't want to deny those people who WANT to have their heads beaten in the opportunity, just because some whiny anti-battery types want such lists to be double opt in.

    He should have taken more care with his head - kept it in a metal helmet, only showing it to his friends, changing it periodically. Instead, he had his head out in the open where anybody who wanted to could beat it in.

    It's all his fault, and the DMA (Dastardly Murder Association) bears no responsibility for this incident.
  • Spam (Score:5, Insightful)

    by william_w_bush (817571) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#13157983)
    how... sad...ish

    my take on this is that we shouldn't blame spammers for spam, we should blame the MOTHER-FUCKING BRAIN-DEAD IDIOTS who actually BUY from them, giving them an economic incentive to fuck the rest of us over.

    Honestly, if you know anyone who buys that shit, please kick his ass for us, they support spammers, and are more to blame than 100 whatever-this-guys-name-was.
    • Re:Spam (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:17PM (#13160626)
      how... sad...ish

      The unnecessary death of a human being? Yeah, I'd say it's sad.
      • Re:Spam (Score:4, Insightful)

        by the pickle (261584) on Monday July 25, 2005 @10:53PM (#13162561) Homepage
        Unnecessary?

        You presume his life was necessary in the first place. I'm gonna go with no. The overwhelmingly vast majority of people are utterly, indescribably insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

        This guy was no different.

        As another poster so adroitly pointed out, there are something like a quarter of a million people who die every single day in this world. Put in a time-averaged perspective, that's about three people every single second of the day. In the time it takes me to compose a sentence in this post, 30 or 40 people have died.

        And you're going to try to say you feel sadness for each and every one of these people?

        Bullshit.

        I feel sadness for innocent people who die in terrorist attacks. I feel sadness for people who die after long bouts with cancer whilst their loved ones watch them waste away. I feel sorry for people who are murdered because they wore the wrong colour shirt in the wrong part of town.

        I sure as shit do not feel one whit of sympathy or sadness for some professional asshat whose goal in life was to annoy the holy hell out of everyone on the Internet. Do you know how much Russian-language spam I've gotten this year? I don't speak or read a word of Russian, but I have to deal with this guy's drivel every goddamn day, and you want me to feel fucking sad because someone beat his worthless ass to death in his apartment?

        How about I start shitting on your porch -- and the porch of everyone in your neighbourhood, village, town, city, and state -- every day for the next 10 years? When you and your 10 million friends get done cleaning it off after the 3650th day, and someone fucking snaps and beats me to death, I utterly DEMAND you feel remorse for my unnecessary death.

        Never mind that my sole purpose and goal in life at that point was to piss you off. You had goddamn better feel remorse that you're not going to get your porch shit on tomorrow.

        People like you are the reason people like him are allowed to continue existing.

        And that, my friend, is truly sad.

        p
  • hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by pizza_milkshake (580452) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:06PM (#13158022)
    Your post advocates a

    ( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based (x) vigilante

    approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

    ( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
    ( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
    ( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
    ( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
    ( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
    ( ) Users of email will not put up with it
    ( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
    (x) The police will not put up with it
    ( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
    ( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
    ( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
    ( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
    ( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business


    Specifically, your plan fails to account for

    (x) Laws expressly prohibiting it
    ( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
    ( ) Open relays in foreign countries
    ( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
    ( ) Asshats
    ( ) Jurisdictional problems
    ( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
    ( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
    ( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
    ( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
    ( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
    ( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
    ( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
    ( ) Extreme profitability of spam
    ( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
    ( ) Technically illiterate politicians
    ( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
    ( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
    ( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
    ( ) Outlook

    and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

    ( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
    ( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
    ( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
    ( ) Blacklists suck
    ( ) Whitelists suck
    ( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
    ( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
    ( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
    ( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
    ( ) Sending email should be free
    ( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
    ( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
    ( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
    ( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
    ( ) I don't want the government reading my email
    (x) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

    Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

    ( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
    ( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
    ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!
    (x) Wow, this might work!
  • by breon.halling (235909) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:07PM (#13158047)
  • I both pity the guy (and pray thate he will reach purgatory at least) and at the same time, am afraid of the people behind the murder. I mean, if someone we consider a villain was murdered, then it means he was only a pawn of a much greater power :-S

    As they say, you never know who you work for.
  • by TWX (665546) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:18PM (#13158172)
    I mean, I've wanted to see Spammers get their just desserts; I've dreamed about spammers being arrested and locked up in a cell with three guys who bought their Viagra and Enlargement Pills, but I've never really considered that something could really happen. I kind of feel like Vir, when his "I'd like to see your head up on a pike, so I can wave at it like this" moment. It's an anti-cathartic moment that I'll have to savor in its most violent decadence, yet sweet at the same time.

    Just. Wow.
  • by Himring (646324) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:24PM (#13158241) Homepage Journal
    Russians take shit too far. Roulette is fun and all, but no, those russians had to take it one step further. How do you come up with a game like that anyways? Whatever they do, they do it with intensity. Who was in space first? I rest my case. -Mitch Hedberg

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mitch_Hedberg [wikiquote.org]

    Rest in peace Mitch.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:26PM (#13158255)
    This gives a whole new meaning to SpamAssassin.
  • by jtpalinmajere (627101) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:30PM (#13158314)
    I'm not saying they shoulda killed the bastard...

    ... but I understand.

    My feelings... he was working for the mob... and one of their addresses somehow got on his list. 1000 emails later, the originator was beaten to death by 1000 blows to the head with one of the advertised dildos in his spam mails.
  • by overshoot (39700) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:31PM (#13158322)
    /me opens inbox.

    /me reaches for hammer. Resists.

    /me goes to wall. Remebers last drywall repair bill. Resists.

    I can see how in a moment of weakness it could happen.
  • by Ed Almos (584864) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:32PM (#13158334)
    OK, one down but countless many left.

    Who's next for the clue bat?

    Ed Almos
    Budapest, Hungary
  • by Teppy (105859) * on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:35PM (#13158373) Homepage
    I bet he's made a lot of money with all that spam. And as any Russian will tell you, don't fuck with the Mob. If only there were some way for his relatives to inherit the money without attracting attention...

    Hey, I have an idea!

    DEAR SIR,

    ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF. I AM MR. VLADIMIR NATREVSKY, COUNCIL TO ONE MR. VARDAN
    KUSHNIR. I HAVE IN MY POSESSION FOURTY-TWO MILLION US DOLLARS ($42,000,000.00) IN VARIOUS
    BANK ACCOUNTS, FROM MR. KUSHNIR'S ASSORTED BUSINESSES. Due to the violent nature of Mr. Kushiner's
    death, his reletives do not wish to attract attention to themselves by claiming the money. they
    have enlisted my aid in finding someone outside of russia to help them. the money will be deposited into
    a bank account of your choosing in the unites states. once this has been accomplished, and with great
    sadness, Mr. Kushiner's family will flee the russia that they love to start a new life. the money,
    less your commission, will them be transferred to them in their new homeland.

    FOR YOUR HELP, YOU WILL RECEIVE 30% OF THEIR FORTUNE ($12,600,000), AND 10% ($4,200,000) WILL BE SET ASIDE FOR
    EXPENSES.

    YOURS FAITHFULLY,
    Mr. VLADIMIR NATREVSKY
  • by Steve B (42864) on Monday July 25, 2005 @01:39PM (#13158414)
    Now [WHAM!!!] will you [WHAM!!!] remove my name [WHAM!!!] from [WHAM!!!] your [WHAM!!!] list ?!?
  • by Thaelon (250687) on Monday July 25, 2005 @03:54PM (#13159889)
    I seriously doubt this guy was killed just for spamming, but let's assume he was for discussion. While on the surface it may seem that the punishment (death) far exceeds the crime (spamming) let's do a little math.

    Say I spend 10 seconds managing my spam every 2-3 days. That's 28 seconds a week. No big deal right?

    Say I've been doing it for the last 5 years and will continue to for the next 55.

    (5 + 55) * 52 weeks * 28 seconds a week = 87,360 seconds (24.266~ hours). Still not that bad, just one day.

    Someone who lives 80 years only gets 700,800 hours to live.

    That means spammers only have to annoy 28,879 people ( 700,800 / 24.266~ = 28,879 ) before they've wasted an entire (long) human lifetime worth of time. Now I know it's a bit of a stretch to equate a human lifetime worth of time to the life of an actual human being, but I begin to wonder. My time is very valuable to me and I'd rather not waste a single second of it deleting unwanted advertisements from my inbox.

    But let's take it a little further. According to this [census.gov] there are 6,454,864,470 people on earth at the time of this writing. Say spammers only annoy 5% of them (a low estimate I would guess) for their entire lives. That's still 322,743,223 people who lost a day's time to spam.

    24.266 hours per person * 322,743,223 people = 7831902223.6 hours wasted.

    That's 11,175.66 human lifetimes!

    If you want to equate those to actual deaths here are some comparisons:

    "British Medial Journal indicating that passive smoking kills over 11,000 people in UK." (http://www.sdlp.ie/pr2march2005.shtm [www.sdlp.ie]).

    "To take prostate cancer as an example, although it kills over 11,000 men a year..." (http://www.icr.ac.uk/press/releases/cancerchip.ht ml [icr.ac.uk])

    "Gun violence kills over 11,000 Americans every year..." (http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2002/11 /08/opinion/6293.shtml [dailyprincetonian.com])

    These were extremely low estimates, the world's population is growing, and the amount of spam is growing.

    Still think the punishment didn't fit the crime? I'm not sure anymore myself.

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