Did Anti-Spam Gang Kill Russian Spammer?

    July 25, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Certain anti-spam parties have made threats in the past against some of the world’s more notorious spammers.

Russia’s Interfax news agency reports that notorious spammer Vardan Kushnir was found brutally murdered. His body was discovered in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, showing evidence of repeated blows to the head.

Mr. Kushnir headed English learning centers known for their persistent aggressive spamming. Millions of messages sent by the firms went out each day. Spamming is not presently illegal under Russian law.

Some angry users have retaliated against his firms by plaguing them with numerous phone calls, bombarding it with emails, or even advertising the firms’ phone numbers in bogus ads for escort services or bargain real estate offers.

Mr. Kushnir was of Armenian descent, and became reviled among Russian email users for the continuous flow of junk messages from his American Language Center in 2003. Email wasn’t the only method used; Mr. Kushnir’s company filled forums, blogs, and ICQ channels with its messages.

The ALC website soon became a favorite target for hackers, and Russian Internet service providers frequently closed down his sites when users complained about the spamming practices.

Among those complaints came death threats; it is speculated that while many were from angered users, some may have come from the sort of loosely-organized anti-spam gangs described in the 2004 book Spam Kings.

And possibly, one followed through on the many deadly promises made over the years to Mr. Kushnir, in his Moscow apartment over the weekend.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.