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Spammers Bribe Russian Officials 83

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the ten-thousand-volleyballs dept.
hellkyng writes with a transcript of interesting chat logs in Krebs on Security. From the article: "Leaked online chats between the co-owners of the world's largest pharmacy spam operation reveal the extent to which illicit organizations in Russia purchase political protection, and bribe public officials into initiating or stalling law enforcement investigations."
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Spammers Bribe Russian Officials

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  • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @01:49PM (#37255806) Journal

    Except the spammers are corporations. And the bribes are campaign contributions. And the public officials are, oh they're still public officials.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The people who run the business of government are motivated precisely by money, the same as everyone in the private sector. Puts a bit of a damper on the age-old claim that government works for you and me, doesn't it?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The people who run the business of government are motivated precisely by money, the same as everyone in the private sector.

        I'd say it puts more a damper on the age-old claims that public officials are somehow the extra circles of hell Dante kept to himself, and are rather just ordinary people just like everyone else.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Dishevel (1105119)

          The difference is that without government help the corporations can not send the FBI to seize my shit. Or send the police to break into my home.
          The corporations (without government help) can not put me in prison.

          • Was it a corporate or government-run school where you completely failed to learn any history?
        • by Hatta (162192)

          Of course governments are composed of people like everyone else. That's why they can't be trusted!

          • by rmstar (114746)

            Of course governments are composed of people like everyone else. That's why they can't be trusted!

            Must be pretty horrible being you, unable to trust anyone.

            The idea that life is a game, and the one who is richest (in money terms) when he dies wins is relatively primitive. It is mantained by people who end up hating their lives because it sucks. Many people in government work because they want a better world, and not for the money. Making the world a better place is a fantastic way of becoming rich, although

            • by Hatta (162192)

              Must be pretty horrible being you, unable to trust anyone.

              There was an implicit "with power" after that "they can't be trusted". The only awful part is seeing people making the same predictible mistakes (e.g. hoping that Obama would be different).

              The idea that life is a game, and the one who is richest (in money terms) when he dies wins is relatively primitive.

              I would agree absolutely. What does this have to do with the rest of the thread though?

              Many people in government work because they want a better

              • Actually, I suspect most people can be trusted with power. It's only the ones that actively seek it that generally can't. If you picked 300 random people from the population to run the country for a couple of years, I would expect to see some minor abuses of power, but nothing like the kind of scale we get from career politicians.
          • Of course governments are composed of people like everyone else. That's why they can't be trusted!

            Same as governments. The problem in both cases is that the resulting entity has a mind of its own - it shields the human cogs constituting the machine from seeing the whole picture, so each of them may be a nice guy by himself, but his tiny contribution towards the grand scheme of things can do things that he didn't really intend or envision. This works for both good and bad things, by the way. But, as such meta-organisms have a tendency of becoming sociopathic if let run unchecked, there's usually more evi

      • by rednip (186217)

        So, since you don't believe in the decency of other human beings, we should all live in that uncaring, uncooperative, and unproductive world in which you think would be perfect, maybe? I swear libertarians would rather see children starve in the streets (again) rather than pay any taxes.

    • by al0ha (1262684)
      No it's not like America - it is like doing business in every country on the globe; period.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        No it's not like America - it is like doing business in every country on the globe; period.

        There are many european countries where behavior like this ends up all over the news and gives harsh penalties and effectively puts an end to it. Not that that means it doesn't happen, but a lot less and when discovered it is punished.

        • by SomePgmr (2021234)
          That would happen here in the US too, where spammers are prosecuted and a bribe from a spammer to law enforcement would land everyone in jail. But we're off on an angry rant about something else for the moment. ;)
      • by dmartin (235398)

        America isn't a country on the globe?

        Do you mean that America is not special in being like Russia in this regard?

    • by alen (225700)

      except campaign contributions can only be used for political campaigns and people have gone to jail for using the money on themselves.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Which has done little to improve the quality of government. Campaign contributions are bribes for all practical purposes.

      • That would make a difference, if it weren't for two minor points:
        1. In US Presidential elections, the winner has been the one that spent the most for quite a long time. I suspect that it's the same in most other US elections.
        2. Once in power, there are ample opportunities for exploiting your position to make money.

        So, a campaign contribution ends up being an indirect bribe, but it's still a bribe. You could probably improve matters a lot by ensuring that campaign contributions had to be anonymous, paid via

    • the man on the street bribes cops and soldiers, they gotta eat too.

      that spammers bribe them only means that the officials got wind of the spamming operation - or that they bought a house..

    • by VJmes (2449518)
      Campaign contribution sounds better than calling it a bribe.
  • DUH! Still though, worth having evidence. Maybe the higher-ups will scapegoat some people, and things might get marginally better. Who knows.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @01:55PM (#37255878) Journal

    Spammers Bribe Russian Officials

    And polluters bribe Chinese officials and large companies bribe American lawmakers and logging companies bribe South American governments and ... well, this list would get ridiculously long if we kept it going. I would be willing to bet that the spammers that operate in the United States have to grease the wheels at their banks and who knows where else? Hell, in Mexico, the police basically make you bribe them on the spot whether you can take a hint or not. You could probably say "Spammers Bribe Officials" and no doubt it's universally true.

    • by bitt3n (941736)

      You could probably say "Spammers Bribe Officials" and no doubt it's universally true.

      What would be the downside of loosening entrapment regulations for elected officials, so that it is possible to spam them with bribe attempts, say three to five per year? Dishonest officials would then start ignoring legitimate bribes, just as someone flooded with spam starts missing legitimate messages (albeit the former would do so out of fear of accepting a fake offer).

      In the fantasy state where such an idea could be put into practice, perhaps any corporate or political enterprise who donates to a candid

      • What would be the downside of loosening entrapment regulations for elected officials, so that it is possible to spam them with bribe attempts, say three to five per year?

        While the rest of your comment makes clear that this is not an entirely serious suggestion on your part, I recommend to you the work of Susan Rose-Ackerman [yale.edu], who has written quite a bit on the economic effects of corruption.

  • In soviet russia...blah blah blah...

  • I thought this was how business was done in Russia. According to Misha Glenny, who knows as well as anyone, they always have to bribe the mafia and protection to actually get anything done as well.
    • by ge7 (2194648)
      It is. It's how every legit business is run there too. And in America.
  • by nimbius (983462) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @02:11PM (#37256104) Homepage
    socialize healthcare in the worlds largest economy, The United States. With no need for a competitive alternative market for healthcare, pharmacy spam will die overnight.
    now you might say "but athletic shoe spam will surely overtake the market after this" and yes, I can solve this problem as well.
    Include with each pair of new athletic shoes a picture of the representative atheletes average home, as well as that of an employee of the shoe manufacturer.

    now I know some worry that perhaps the markets would shift to peddling pornography in greater fervour then?
    This is excellent! as we find now the market saturated with nudity and sexual content the likes of which Extremist religious terrorism could never triumph against.
    Genitalia is relegated to being simply another mundane element of the human physiology, and we can return to doing more interesting things as a society like finding cool bozons and curing diseases and exploring space.

    dont forget me come november. I'm running with taco as my vice president, you know.
    • socialize healthcare in the worlds largest economy, The United States. With no need for a competitive alternative market for healthcare, pharmacy spam will die overnight

      Yes and no - Some PharmaSpam exists because of male unwillingness to go to the doctor - You may be embarassed to go to your doc and ask for a viagra prescription, but might be willing to buy it anonymously online.

      ...and besides which, poor sick KIDS aren't enough of a motivator for the USA to provide universal healthcare. What makes you

      • by Ruzty (46204)

        There's also the large market for prescription opiate addicts who need a source for their pills.

      • "Do it for the kids" ... the greatest threat to liberty in the world.

      • ...and besides which, poor sick KIDS aren't enough of a motivator for the USA to provide universal healthcare. What makes you think reduction of spam will be?

        Because government employees/politicians all already have government-funded healthcare -- but this doesn't protect them against spam.

    • by balaband (1286038)

      And, of course, free V!4gr4 and C!4lis for everyone, drop down Rolex prices and set car insurance for all to 20$?

      Brilliant!

  • We just happen to call it lobbying.
    Not that it's any different than a bribe.
  • If people were serious about stopping cybercrime, they'd blackhole nations that couldn't control their cybercrime problem.

    I bet that would solve a lot of issues real damn quick.

    • If people were serious about stopping cybercrime, they'd blackhole nations that couldn't control their cybercrime problem.

      You are conveniently overlooking the fact that there is no universal, international definition of "cybercrime". Some countries have no problem with spam, or kiddie porn, or selling drugs online. You can't just run around imposing your own notion of justice on other countries.

      • by Fjandr (66656)

        Blackholing something actually isn't an imposition. It's exactly the opposite.

  • I thought by now that anyone with a clue firewalled anything and everything from Russia with a vengeance. Honestly, what worthwhile network traffic comes from there? Its nothing but bot nets, spams, and Mob networks (RBN, anyone?).

    • I thought by now that anyone with a clue firewalled anything and everything from Russia with a vengeance. Honestly, what worthwhile network traffic comes from there? Its nothing but bot nets, spams, and Mob networks (RBN, anyone?).

      This wouldn't do a thing... there's a reason these guys call their operations things like "Canadian Pharmacy". Usually the websites are hosted in China, the site domains are hosted all over the world, and the spams are sent via botnet.

      As for "what worthwhile network traffic comes from there?" Well, a lot of people have friends/family in Russia, there are universities in Russia, many megacorps have offices in Russia, and any kickbacks from the Russian government via moneygram have to get to you somehow....

    • There's about 40 million Internet users in Russia - most of which are also customers of various online services, stores etc.

    • Unfortunately, some of us have to do this little thing called 'work', which involves collaborating with people around the world, including Russia.
  • In Soviet Russia, volleyball serves you!

    (note, you may need to RTFA).

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @03:54PM (#37257350) Homepage

    In Russia it's called a bribe, in the U.S. it's called "lobbying".

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