Feeds

Feds pursue Russian, 23, behind ⅓ of ALL WORLD SPAM

Badges pursue bot cowboy who mustered huge Mega-D herd

Intelligent flash storage arrays

FBI investigators have named a 23-year-old Russian as a prime suspect behind the operation of the infamous 500,000 Mega-D botnet, blamed for an estimated one in three spam emails prior to a take-down operation early last year.

Oleg Nikolaenko, a 23-year-old Moscow resident, was accused of violating US anti-spam and fraud laws in a sworn testimony by an FBI agent investigation the case, the Smoking Gun reports.

Webmail records from two Gmail accounts and financial transactions (via the ePassporte service) link Nikolaenko to the operation of the botnet, according to court paper submitted in a grand jury investigation.

The Mega-D zombie network was infamous as a prolific source of counterfeit prescription, herbal remedy and fake Rolex spam. A January 2009 takedown operation mounted by security firm FireEye hit Mega-D very hard, drastically affecting spam output, which has returned but never to the same noxious levels.

Nikolaenko is the first suspect to be named in the Mega-D botnet investigation case and not much is known about him aside from a short entry by Nikolaenko in Spamhaus's ROKSO database of the world's most prolific spammers, which can be found here.

The Russian constitution specifically prohibits extradition of its citizens. Nikolaenko previously visited the US voluntarily twice last year but he's unlikely to return once he gets wind that the feds are on his case.

Up until recently Russia was considered something of a safe haven for cybercrooks, who were left alone by the authorities providing only non-Russians were targeted and (it's rumoured) bribes to local politicians and corrupt police were paid. Some of these blackhats may have provided a conveniently deniable source for cyberattack against Georgia that accompanied armed hostilities between the two countries back in 2008.

More recently attitudes have changed as those at the top of Russia political leadership have begun to see cybercrooks as an obstacle to making the country less economically reliant on its natural energy reserves by expanding its IT sector. However, local attitudes remain inconsistent and it is difficult to predict whether or not Nikolaenko will be questioned over any offence – much less charged.

Security blogger and ex Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs noted earlier this week that the suspected operator of a large underground carding forum has expanded his business over the last four years, after been publicly outed as a significant cybercrime operator by the New York Times back in 2006. Sergey Kozerev, originally from St Petersburg, still runs a "bustling marketplace for purloined financial data", Krebs reports. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.