Meet the world's most prolific spammers

Rogues' gallery


Spamhaus has published a revised list of the world's 10 worst spammers. According to the anti-spam organisation, 200 professional spam gangs are responsible for 80 per of the high volume of junk mail pumped onto the internet every day.

Public enemy number one is a Ukrainian known variously as Alex or Alexey, a prolific user of botnets, networks of PCs compromised with malware, to send out junk mail in association with a Russian spam gang called Pavka/Artofit. Alexey is involved in distributing child porn spam, among the many types of unsolicited junk he spew onto the net every day.

The world's second worst spammer, according to Spamhaus, is Leo Kuvayev, who also works with Pavka/Artofit. Kuvayev was fined $37m for his anti-social activities by a Massachusetts court in October 2005. His present whereabouts are unknown.

Spamhaus's number three offender, Michael Lindsay of iMedia Networks, runs a spam-hosting operation in the US that's used by numerous other junk mail firms. Down at number eight on the list, but well-known to law enforcement agencies is Western Europe, is Alexey Panov, an author of software used to send spam from compromised PCs and something of a Baron Samedi of botnets.

Four of the world's most prolific spammers in Spamhaus's Register Of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) database are from Russia and two are from the US. The other four members of the rogue's gallery are from Canada, Hong Kong, Israel and the Ukraine. Between them they push out a huge volume of junk mails touting porn, penis pills, loans, stock scams and other assorted tat.

Much of the problem from spam stems from ineffective enforcement action by ISPs. A small number of large ISPs go even further by knowingly selling services to professional spammers, or doing nothing to prevent spammers operating from their networks through either corporate greed or mismanagement.

Although all networks claim to be anti-spam, some can't resist the lure of selling services at a premium to spam operations. Others simply decide that purging botnet-infected machines from their network is too costly. Spamhaus names and shames the networks it reports as having the world's worst spam problems. Worst of the lot is verizonbusiness with serverflo.com and sbc.com picking up the second and three places, respectively, in Spamhaus' list of shame.

Spamhaus also uses its spam blocklist database to pick out the countries that have become a "safe haven" for spam operations. As with a similar list compiled by net security firm Sophos, the US and China top the pile. Russia is behind Japan in fourth spot with the UK occupying the seventh berth. ®


Other stories you might like

  • China is trolling rare-earth miners online and the Pentagon isn't happy
    Beijing-linked Dragonbridge flames biz building Texas plant for Uncle Sam

    The US Department of Defense said it's investigating Chinese disinformation campaigns against rare earth mining and processing companies — including one targeting Lynas Rare Earths, which has a $30 million contract with the Pentagon to build a plant in Texas.

    Earlier today, Mandiant published research that analyzed a Beijing-linked influence operation, dubbed Dragonbridge, that used thousands of fake accounts across dozens of social media platforms, including Facebook, TikTok and Twitter, to spread misinformation about rare earth companies seeking to expand production in the US to the detriment of China, which wants to maintain its global dominance in that industry. 

    "The Department of Defense is aware of the recent disinformation campaign, first reported by Mandiant, against Lynas Rare Earth Ltd., a rare earth element firm seeking to establish production capacity in the United States and partner nations, as well as other rare earth mining companies," according to a statement by Uncle Sam. "The department has engaged the relevant interagency stakeholders and partner nations to assist in reviewing the matter.

    Continue reading
  • California's attempt to protect kids online could end adults' internet anonymity
    Websites may be forced to verify ages of visitors unless changes made

    California lawmakers met in Sacramento today to discuss, among other things, proposed legislation to protect children online. The bill, AB2273, known as The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, would require websites to verify the ages of visitors.

    Critics of the legislation contend this requirement threatens the privacy of adults and the ability to use the internet anonymously, in California and likely elsewhere, because of the role the Golden State's tech companies play on the internet.

    "First, the bill pretextually claims to protect children, but it will change the Internet for everyone," said Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University School of Law professor, in a blog post. "In order to determine who is a child, websites and apps will have to authenticate the age of ALL consumers before they can use the service. No one wants this."

    Continue reading
  • Is computer vision the cure for school shootings? Likely not
    Gun-detecting AI outfits want to help while root causes need tackling

    Comment More than 250 mass shootings have occurred in the US so far this year, and AI advocates think they have the solution. Not gun control, but better tech, unsurprisingly.

    Machine-learning biz Kogniz announced on Tuesday it was adding a ready-to-deploy gun detection model to its computer-vision platform. The system, we're told, can detect guns seen by security cameras and send notifications to those at risk, notifying police, locking down buildings, and performing other security tasks. 

    In addition to spotting firearms, Kogniz uses its other computer-vision modules to notice unusual behavior, such as children sprinting down hallways or someone climbing in through a window, which could indicate an active shooter.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022