FBI arrests Russian man responsible for a third of spam

By on December 3, 2010, 4:33 PM
The FBI has arrested Oleg Nikolaenko, who is allegedly behind the Mega-D botnet, which at one point accounted for nearly a third of all of the spam on the Internet. He was arrested in Las Vegas in early November while attending a car show, and was carrying $4,000 in cash. Nikolaenko worked with affiliates in several countries around the world to push products through spam, including fake watches and herbal supplements, according to JSOnline.

An affidavit filed by the FBI in the US District Court in Wisconsin says agents got onto Nikolaenko's trail after one of his alleged associates, an Australian man named Lance Atkinson, agreed to plead guilty and eventually began telling authorities about his dealings with others in the underground. He filled them in on a spam and affiliate marketing scam that Nikolaenko (whom he called Docent) was involved in.

The FBI worked with the FTC and others to investigate and shutdown a large spamming operation known as Affking. "In the interview, Atkinson explained his involvement in the Affking and related enterprises, including Affking predecessor companies Genbucks and Sancash," FBI agent Brent Banner wrote in his complaint against Nikolaenko. "Specifically, he recalled that two of his largest Russian spamming affiliate used the online monikers 'Docent' and 'Dem'."

The FBI eventually got access to e-mail accounts involved in the payment chain of the affiliate marketing program via a federal subpoena. One of them belonged to Nikolaenko and a search warrant gave them access to the e-mails themselves, as well as a conversation between Nikolaenko and Atkinson, in which the two discussed spam operations. The FBI also found e-mails which contained the executable file for the Mega-D malware. When the botnet was taken down, Banner says in his complaint that Nikolaenko was in the US but left the country two days early, likely to go home and fix the damage.

Nikolaenko is being held in Wisconsin; he could face up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. The Russian has pleaded not guilt, according to Reuters.





User Comments: 13

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stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

besides the html coding issues on this post,

Does anyone else sense irony with this? A Russian involved with spam... XD

Yad Yad said:

I heard same thing a few months ago and that guy had also 1/3 or 1/4 can't remember correctly.

If this is another guy than 50% of spam is gone lol

vangrat said:

Yad said:

I heard same thing a few months ago and that guy had also 1/3 or 1/4 can't remember correctly.

If this is another guy than 50% of spam is gone lol

If only that were true...

What they have not said is the companies this man was working with are still sending out their spam emails. So all they have done is cut off a middle man...the beast still lives, and will continue living, because you cannot kill the internet anymore then you can kill a rainy day. Yes it will go away for a time...but it will come back...maybe even harder than last time.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

They should also go after the physical infrastructure of these botnets like the actual networks and ISPs that are hosting them. Software-based countermeasures can only go so far. You have to take out the hardware too.

Cota Cota said:

why they said how much money he was carrying?

Any way, hopefully this takes half of my usual spam

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

stewi0001 said:

besides the html coding issues on this post,

Does anyone else sense irony with this? A Russian involved with spam... XD

Obvious imperialist lies. No doubt a sleeper agent planted by the CIA in order to ruin Russia's reputation.

peteyhawkins said:

Botnets cant just be taken away... they are run on our own infected computers.. and it is our own fault that spam can survive, people who don't run firewalls or download shit on the internet that gives them viruses and malware are responsible for spam... Obviously the person who creates this stuff in the first place is utterly responsible, but we need to do our best not to protect ourselves, but others as well.

fadownjoo said:

US District Judge Philip Gutierrez berated prosecutors for half an hour over their conduct in the criminal case against Matthew Crippen, a California man who is charged with two counts of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for modding Xbox 360s. Update: "The government has decided to dismiss the indictment," prosecutor Allen Chiu told the judge shortly before the jury was to be seated on the third day of trial. If convicted, Crippen would have faced a maximum five years for each count.

.....

Nikolaenko is being held in Wisconsin; he could face up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. The Russian has pleaded not guilt, according to Reuters.

....WTF

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The "11th Commandment"......., "Thou shall Not Spam".

In sort of delightful, (yet still unforgivable), irony, post #10 is in fact, >> SPAM <<..!

Judging by our "interloper's" name, the Chinese are responsible for the other 66%.

bakape said:

"(whom he called Docent)"

Any Russian reading this right now must be loling hard.

treetops treetops said:

If I was in prison I would shank him, fing spam!

Smojoe Smojoe said:

my spam has gone down considerably. I have only one or two spam messages a day now, before December 1st I was getting about 33 spam messages a day and was considering the bold step of adopting a filter... there aren't a lot of natural remedies for spam so I was happy to read this here.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

.. there aren't a lot of natural remedies for spam so I was happy to read this here.
Very true, but some people are successful weaning themselves off it, by substituting either canadian bacon or breakfast sausage.

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