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Russian Anti-Spam Advisor Accused of Spamming

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-we-need-our-viagra dept.

Spam 69

Keith noted that Krebs has an interesting story on a Russian businessman being accused of running a spam ring while serving as an anti-spam adviser to the Russian government. It's a strange tale including an investigation in 2007 that was abandoned when the chief investigator was actually hired to work for the spammer. Not suspicious at all, no way.

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Why I am not surprised? (1)

XnR'rn (793753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253554)

In Russia it is quite common occurence, that official in charge of something makes something worse.

Okay from RTFA. (2, Informative)

XnR'rn (793753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253682)

“We have here a merger between a criminal element and the government power which is unacceptable and inadmissible in any civilized society,” Ponomarev wrote. I don't see how it is much different from most of the rest of the system. In Russia, mostly the corruption is not just in the system. It is more like THE system. Quite a bit of Russian news coverage (mostly internal) is all about that.

Re:Okay from RTFA. (1)

Venik (915777) | more than 4 years ago | (#32256424)

In Russia, mostly the corruption is not just in the system.

If I was Russia's prime minister, I would hire a recent comp sci grad as my anti-spam adviser. You know, somebody fresh out of college, unburdened with superfluous knowledge; somebody who once read a book about spamming. This way my reputation as a thrifty and ethical bureaucrat would be safe with the Russian tabloids.

Re:Okay from RTFA. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32258122)

If I was Russia's prime minister, I would ban everybody who ever was a member of CPSU or United Russia, or held any position in executive or legislative on any level (from municipal upward), and any close relatives (parents, siblings, spouses, children and grandchildren) regardless of party affiliation, from holding any position in the government, or being elected to any legislature. Preferably for life, though a limited but sufficiently long term for several electoral cycles (say, 30 years) might also do the trick.

Short of that, I don't know what else can curb the existing system of corruption. Well, mass repressions of political elite, Stalin-style, perhaps - but that brings its own... ahem... problems.

Yeah, I guess that would mean booting off 95% of all existing politicians. See, it's a win-win all the way!

Re:Why I am not surprised? (2, Insightful)

EdtheFox (959194) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253784)

uh.. That's not just in Russia.

Re:Why I am not surprised? (1)

XnR'rn (793753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254210)

Yeah, true.
But let me illustrate some:
Some income reports for 2009 [google.com] , for State Duma deputies (including some from the Forbes richest list).
For comparison, the minimal monthly wage in Russia is 4330 rubles (thats around 96 Euros).
A lot of interesting comparisons from those numbers can be done.

Re:Why I am not surprised? (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32255348)

See, here's the difference: In America, the government guys are a bunch of crooks. In Russia, the crooks are a bunch of government guys.

Re:Why I am not surprised? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259140)

Mod parent up - this is what a Russian reversal is meant to look like. Just saying 'in Russia, noun verbs YOU!' is not funny.

Re:Why I am not surprised? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32259770)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakov_Smirnoff#Russian_reversal

I'm pretty sure he decides how it's done. It's still so funny too. Noun verbs you is the amazing part that drives the line home. Without it, its nothing special. People usually omit the in america part. So what.

Re:Why I am not surprised? (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260686)

In Soviet Russia you don't advise on spam, spam advises on you

Re:Why I am not surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32265408)

IMO, the less sense it makes, the funnier it is. GP was clever but not all that funny to me.

Re:Why I am not surprised? (1)

MoeDumb (1108389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32261980)

Reminds me of that hypocritical anti-gay crusader who was just caught traveling with a young male 'luggage lifter' he hired from rentboy.com. What better way to throw suspicion off yourself than to polemicize against the very thing you're secretly doing? Spam or sex -- yes, both in the can.

Re:Why I am not surprised? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32258164)

It's true, but corruption still varies widely by country. For example, US scores #19 (higher means less corruption) in the Corruption Perceptions Index [wikipedia.org] - near UK and Japan - while Russia scores #146, near Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and Philippines. To give more comparison points, #1 is New Zealand, and #180 is Somalia.

Of course, this is a perceptions index, so it's subjective feelings of the local population, which may not have a proper scale to graduate their experience against those in other countries. Still, it's not meaningless.

Re:Why I am not surprised? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254976)

"official in charge of something makes something worse"... wasn't that the general strategy behind all of G. W. Bush's appointments?

Do as I say (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32253566)

... not as I do.

Well, we are talking about government, aren't we? By definition, everything government does (i.e. employ coercion as a means) is unlawful for the common man to do.

Oblig. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32253572)

In Soviet Russia, anti-spammer spams you.

Re:Oblig. (1)

enjerth (892959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259118)

Modded off-topic? I thought it was informative.

Ah, Yes, Our Good Friend Pavel Vrublevsky (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253578)

CEO of ChronoPay [before-you-invest.com] , the ultra shady [ripoffreport.com] payment "processor" that functioned more like an account hijacker. Looking to partner with Paypal [ecommerce-journal.com] for Russian transactions as well as online Sino-Russian transactions [kommersant.com] .

If you used the illegitimate MP3 site allofmp3.com you may want to investigate whether or not your transaction went through Chronopay as they might have retained a copy of your records *cough* *cough*. Krebs outed this guy in the first report and Vrublevsky tried to play it off like someone higher was trying to drag his name through the mud for political reasons. I don't need anymore accusations: Vrublevsky's a crook.

Re:Ah, Yes, Our Good Friend Pavel Vrublevsky (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32253804)

Wait a minute, this has WHAT to do with the story?

Re:Ah, Yes, Our Good Friend Pavel Vrublevsky (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32257196)

RTFA

Re:Ah, Yes, Our Good Friend Pavel Vrublevsky (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32256556)

Russia has its own style in business, government and crime. Misha Glenny covered it well in his well researched book McMafia. He quoted James Woolsey who portrayed it succinctly:

If you should chance to strike up a conversation with an articulate, English-speaking Russian in, say, the restaurant of one of the luxury hotels along Lake Geneva, and he is wearing a $3,000 suit and a pair of Gucci loafers, and he tells you that he is an executive of a Russian trading company and wants to talk to you about a joint venture, then there are four possibilities. He may be what he says he is. He may be a Russian intelligence officer working under commercial cover. He may be part of a Russian organized crime group. But the really interesting possibility is that he may be all three--and that none of those three institutions have any problem with the arrangement.

Things are different over there.

Re:Ah, Yes, Our Good Friend Pavel Vrublevsky (1)

dziban303 (540095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32256648)

Vrublevsky's a crook.

Anyone with a name like Vrublesvsky is either a criminal mastermind or a mad scientist.

There is no middle ground.

I see. (-1, Flamebait)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253586)

Kinda like a Republican running on a "family values" platform, only to resign because he had an extramarital affair with a staffer [foxnews.com] ?

Re:I see. (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254080)

Or a Democrat claiming to be "Pro-Choice" but then votes to support a healthcare bill that takes-away choice (punishes people w/o hospital insurance).

Just trying to be balanced.
You used a Republican example
I used a Democrat example.

Re:I see. (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254434)

They are pro choice. As long as they are the ones doing the choosing.

Re:I see. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259162)

I firmly believe in one man, one vote. Of course, this is assuming that the 'one man' in question is me. I wouldn't trust you lot with the vote...

Re:I see. (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254932)

That's the same kind of "moral equivalence" that labels the Gulf oil spill as "Obama's Katrina". It's not the same thing!

Re:I see. (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254212)

You can substitute mother-in-law [huffingtonpost.com] if you don't have a staffer handy.

Re:I see. (0, Flamebait)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254300)

At least we know a Democrat wouldn't do something like that.

Well, except for Kennedy (pick any one), Bill "I didn't have sex with that woman" Clinton, ..., ..., ...; however for a Democrat it's considered a positive trait to have numerous affairs, and to commit purgery.

Then there's the Barney Frank "I didn't know my gay sex partner was running a brothel out of my house", "Let me fix those traffic tickets for you", ... assortment that has the glowing approval of the Democrat party.

Re:I see. (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254526)

You know what the difference is between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to things like this?

Democrats don't run their campaigns talking about how gays will ruin the sanctity of marriage.

I honestly don't care what politicians do behind closed doors. You want to cheat on your wife? You go right ahead, that's a problem between you and your family. But if you campaign by talking about how marriage must be protected because it is sacred, and then you violate that sanctity, it becomes my business.

Re:I see. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32255554)

Democrats don't run their campaigns talking about how gays will ruin the sanctity of marriage.

Oh, young one, what you don't realize is they would if it were politically expedient. Who created the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy? Who has failed to reverse this policy? When people say the two parties are the same, it is mostly true (hey, McCain even had a healthcare plan that in many ways looked like what Obama ended up with).

Re:I see. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32255604)

Oh, young one, what you don't realize is they would if it were politically expedient. Who created the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy? Who has failed to reverse this policy?

I know where you are going with this, and I completely agree...but again, Democrats don't try to convince me to vote based on whether I think gays will destroy marriage (newsflash: they won't). Republicans do.

When people say the two parties are the same, it is mostly true

I completely agree. That's why I'm registered Independent, and have been since I was 18.

hey, McCain even had a healthcare plan that in many ways looked like what Obama ended up with.

In much the same way, there are many things Obama has done that Bush also did...yet Dems hate Bush and Repubs hate Obama. ::shrug:: The public is fickle enough as it is, but when it comes to politics, they lose their collective shit.

Re:I see. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32255898)

Democrats don't try to convince me to vote based on whether I think gays will destroy marriage (newsflash: they won't). Republicans do.

If it's politically convenient, at some point they will. Just like some democrats have switched on abortion. Who would have ever guessed that one? Really there is no position either party holds that the other couldn't conceivably hold within five years, depending how the politics goes.

Re:I see. (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32255930)

So basically they can do whatever they like and it's okay with you, as long as they aren't being hypocritical? Yeah that makes sense. It's not like their character could effect their job or anything..

Re:I see. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32256268)

So basically they can do whatever they like and it's okay with you, as long as they aren't being hypocritical? Yeah that makes sense

They can do whatever they want in their personal lives. I consider personal life and professional life as completely separate. Failing one doesn't automatically mean you fail the other. The guy has been reelected for multiple elections, so obviously his constituents liked the job he was doing. Had this personal life problem not come to the surface, he likely would have won again, considering he just won the primary.

It's not like their character could effect their job or anything..

I've known people who, on the weekend, snort coke, drink themselves silly, or any number of other reckless activities. Yet Monday through Friday, they are at work, every day, on time, working their asses off. The point is, I don't care what you do in your personal life so long as it doesn't affect your professional life.

Personally, I'm glad this guy is gone due to his views on the "war on some drugs"...but that is irrelevant, insofar as resigning due to a personal issue is concerned.

Re:I see. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254606)

He valued families so much he wanted two of them.

In former Soviet Russia (-1, Redundant)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253588)

corrupt government adviser spams you!

Re:In former Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32254984)

Please explain how that post was redundant, considering it was the first posting of the meme in this thread...

fucking retarded mods

Re:In former Soviet Russia (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32255014)

corrupt government adviser spams you!

If corrupt government adviser spams you, then absolute corrupt government adviser spams you absolutely.

not news (1)

cntThnkofAname (1572875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253590)

doesn't this happen all the time? When there isn't a market for something then the company creates one and then profits

Too obvious (5, Funny)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253652)

In Soviet Russia, anti-spam advisor spams you!

Re:Too obvious (-1, Troll)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253780)

Mod parent redundant, not funny, i posted this joke minutes before c++0xFF did.

Re:Too obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32253862)

No.

That is what you get for having shit karma.

also, inb4 catch-22. Funny mods don't get you karma.

Re:Too obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32253908)

OK, I've modded your joke redundant, this one is enough.

Re:Too obvious (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32254350)

You should both be modded redundant, no matter who posted first.

Re:Too obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32253926)

So in America, you spam anti-spam advisor.

Re:Too obvious (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32257646)

See, the whole point of the "In Soviet Russia" joke is to flip reality around into something nonsensical.

It doesn't work right if reality is already flipped around into something nonsensical.

Re:Too obvious (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32258168)

See, the whole point of the "In Soviet Russia" joke is to flip reality around into something nonsensical.

Not quite. The canonical In Soviet Russia joke is "In America, you can always find a party. In Soviet Russia, the Party can always find you!" It makes sense both ways.

shocking! (2, Funny)

torgis (840592) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253670)

What's this? A corrupt Russian official? Say it ain't so!

In Soviet Russia.... oh wait. Someone else beat me to it. Damn.

Re:shocking! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32253906)

What's this? A corrupt Russian official? Say it ain't so!

That's no particularly Russian "virtue".

Just remember the lead investigator in the case against The Pirate Bay, who ended up working for the MAFIA.

not all bad (2, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253720)

Someone who has successfully operated a spam business will understand spam a lot better than someone who has not.

Re:not all bad (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254012)

Just so I understand. That would be like Jimbo Wales insisting to remove porn from Wikipedia?

Re:not all bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32256098)

how is that relevant to GP?

Re:not all bad (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32255020)

Plus, it is a great way of eliminating competition!

Re:not all bad (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32257664)

Not really, in Russia these sorts of arrangements just mean the spammer keeps on spamming while influencing government spam policy. It's how it's done over there.

Re:not all bad (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32263308)

Someone who has successfully operated a spam business will understand spam a lot better than someone who has not

Exactly, it's the "poacher turned gamekeeper" argument, and such gamekeepers tend to be harsher than average, just like ex-smokers are usually the most anti-smoking.

That is what a spammer does best... (2, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32253968)

... make money.

As much as some people like to think otherwise the simple truth of spam is that spammers send spam to make money. And this guy was just taking it to another level; he was working to improve the rate at which his spam gets through. This really shouldn't surprise anyone who has one iota of sense regarding how spam works and why it actually exists.

Hell we could actually call this "a victory for western capitalism in Russia". Alternately you could say he is just a newer iteration of Viktor Bout [wikipedia.org] .

In Soviet Russia (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32254074)

In Soviet Russia, they never hear about the In Soviet Russia jokes. It's sad, really.

Go Obama! Go! Go! Go!

Who picked him (-1, Troll)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254134)

Is this a sign that Obama got to pick the Russian cabinet posts?

I'm only shocked because... (3, Insightful)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254158)

...they managed to find someone that actually knows what he is talking about. I mean, if you want a spam expert, how can you beat a successful spammer?

Re:I'm only shocked because... (4, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254366)

how can you beat a successful spammer?

Oh, let me count the ways: I could beat him with a crowbar, I could beat him with a bat; I could beat him with a nine iron and I would beat him 'till he cracks!

Re:I'm only shocked because... (1)

nih (411096) | more than 4 years ago | (#32255716)

Elin, is that you?

Tiger

Remember IronPort? They tried that (2, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254308)

IronPort [ironport.com] used to play both sides of the street back in 2002. They sold rackmount "spam filter" boxes, and they also sold, er, "email delivery appliances". [ironport.com] These included mechanisms for using hundreds of different IP addresses, to avoid triggering spam filters. IronPort was also behind "Bonded Spammer" [usatoday.com] , a scheme where they paid ISPs to whitelist their spam. They even bought SpamCop and built Bonded Spammer into it.

Cisco finally bought IronPort, and they got out of the spamming business. Bonded Spammer lives on as ReturnPath [returnpath.net] . If you have anything to do with mail processing, it's worth understanding how to identify ReturnPath email (the IP address is tagged in DNS) so it can be moved to the "bulk" folder. If you use SpamAssassin, it comes with a big negative value for ReturnPath emails to get them through filters. Change that to +2 or so; if somebody paid to use ReturnPath, they're a bulk sender.

Re:Remember IronPort? They tried that (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 4 years ago | (#32256450)

I'm sorry, but I don't see how the ReturnPath program is for spammers. I've gone through the process for real companies (i.e. not spammers) sending newsletters and transactional email. The complaint rates you have to maintain to keep their service are extremely low. I don't see how a spammer could maintain those complaint rates and keep using their service.

Just because somebody is a bulk sender doesn't mean it's spam. I really doubt you'd consider this website a source of spam, but it would be considered a bulk sender.

Re:Remember IronPort? They tried that (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32256842)

If a "newsletter" needs help to get through a spam filter, it's spam. If you want to distribute updates to real "subscribers", use an RSS feed. The user then has total control over their subscription. But most "newsletter" spammers don't want that.

Re:Remember IronPort? They tried that (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 4 years ago | (#32257364)

I'm sorry, but you're completely off tune with reality. The majority of the people in this world aren't computer savvy and would struggle with RSS feeds. They signed up for updates from the companies, because they wanted them in email. Something even the most computer inept people can use now. One company I work with just sent out an email to their investors, guess what it's a newsletter.

If you were to go create something that got mild success in it's first month say you got 20k users and you're sending email that a normal person would expect from you (sign up confirmations, updates, etc) you wouldn't get through to the major free email providers even though people requested the information. That is a legitimate use of email and you'd be considered a bulk sender. Unfortunately spammers have caused this, but just because you don't like something you signuped for doesn't mean it's spam. There's a simple solution tell them you no longer want to receive anything from them and I'm pretty sure most places won't ever contact you again.

*No I'm not talking about the people send out email to lists they buy, rent, or how the fuck ever they get them so they're "CAN-SPAM complaint" and then flood you're email with diet offers, pills, and god knows what else*

In soviet russia (-1, Redundant)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32254460)

You do not spam in Soviet Russia! In Soviet Russia, Soviet Russia spams you!!

hmmm.. (0, Offtopic)

doublee3 (1276070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32255076)

In soviet Russia, spam advises YOU!

Anti Spam Research Group head is a spammer, too (1)

deananderson (258701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32273138)

John Levine is an owner/direcot of Whitehat. Whitehat is a spam company. Levine is head of the ISOC Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) Anti Spam Research Group (ASRG)

http://www.iadl.org/whitehat/whitehat-story.html [iadl.org]
http://www.av8.net/IETF-watch/People/JohnLevine/index.html [av8.net]

Other owner/directors of Whitehat include Rodney Joffe and Paul Vixie (or MAPS fame)

http://www.iadl.org/vixie/index.html [iadl.org]
http://www.iadl.org/maps/maps-story.html [iadl.org]
http://www.iadl.org/RodneyJoffe/rodneyjoffe.html [iadl.org]

Vixie's ISC (root server F operator) is currently being funded by Rick Adams (uunet founder)
It turns out the Vint Cerf (widely recognized as father of the internet, along with others) has been connected to Vixie through Adams. Cerf is also connected to the SEX.COM thief Stephen Cohen, as a childhood friend. Cerf apparently also induced Ray Plzak to assist Cohen's flight from justice. Plzak formerly worked with Cerf in the early days of the internet. Plzak was CEO of ARIN and used ARIN funds to resist court orders to transfer number resources belonging to Cohen in the SEX.COM case. ARIN transfered Cohen's resources to LACNIC, where they were no longer under US Court jurisidiction, even though ARIN remained in control of LACNIC, and could have transfered the resources back if the transfer was in error.

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