Spam King Bagged

For those who have been observing internet abuse for years, a small victoryis always welcome.  That we have beenunable to properly thwart spam is unfortunate.

The fact is that no one minds regulated advertising.  It is how we learn of many things.

 Unregulated advertising ends uppushing ads rather than content.  You areforced to deal with the exact same unwanted goods day after day.  You cannot end it either by the simpleexpedient of not paying your bill. 

I do not know what money is in it, but I am unconvinced that it isparticularly lucrative if only because legitimate venders are clearly notserious players and we see the same creep show as we saw fifteen yearsago.  The volume is such that they evencrowd each other out.

If spam could be ended, we may see regulated product going out in areasonable manner, though it would then be in the form of thousands of pagespacked in digest form as our newspapers do.

Russian man accused of running vastspamming network pleads not guilty in US
By Dinesh Ramde, The Associated Press | The CanadianPress – Fri, 3

In this artist sketch, Oleg Nikolaenko is shown during his arraignmentin federal …

MILWAUKEE - A 23-year-old Russian man accused ofmasterminding a vast worldwide spamming network pleaded not guilty Friday infederal court in Wisconsin to violatinga U.S.anti-spam law.
The judge ordered Oleg Y. Nikolaenko held withoutbond, saying he was a flight risk because of his access to cash and his lack ofties to Wisconsin or the U.S.

Nikolaenko was brought into court wearing brightorange prison pants and matching sweatshirt and shackled at the ankles. Hisattorney entered the plea as a Russian interpreter translated for the Moscow man.

Prosecutors say Nikolaenko ran a network thatinvolved placing malicious code on unsuspecting users' computers and thenhijacking the infected machines to blast out billions of emails.

Internet security experts say the network was somassive that on some days it accounted for one of every three unwanted emailsin the world.

Nikolaenko is charged with violating the CAN-SPAMact by intentionally falsifying header information in commercial email messagesand sending at least 2,500 spam emails per day, the minimum threshold for thecharge. Prosecutors say his network was capable of sending up to 10 billionmessages per day.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of threeyears in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Nikolaenko, unshaven with disheveled hair, satsilent and expressionless during the 20-minute proceedings.

His attorney, Christopher Van Wagner, said heintended to mount a vigorous defence and would examine whether broad pre-trialpublicity might jeopardize his client's ability to receive a fair trial.

"Some people still harbour Cold War images ofpeople from Russia,"he told reporters on the courthouse steps. "You take one look at Oleg, helooks like a kid you find in a basement munching nachos and playing Wii"video games.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica O'Neil said theprosecution's case would hinge on "voluminous" records includingemails Nikolaenko allegedly sent and information gleaned from computer harddrives. She said a computer-crimes expert from the U.S. Department of Justice isassisting because of the complexity of the case.

Van Wagner hinted that he may try to cast doubt onthe validity of the email records.

"When you respond to an email you don't knowwho's typing it," he said.

Nikolaenko was arrested last month at the BellagioHotel while he was in Las Vegasfor a car show. He is being tried in Milwaukee becausethat's where an undercover FBI investigator ordered Viagra through an emaildistributed by Nikolaenko's alleged operation and received bogus herbal pillsinstead, an FBI spokesman said.

O'Neil said Nikolaenko is being held at a U.S.Marshal detention facility in Milwaukee.

In arguing that Nikolaenko should be grantedrelease on bail, Van Wagner noted that his client's wife and young daughterwere in the process of requesting travel visas in Russiaso they could be with Nikolaenko in Milwaukeefor the trial. They wouldn't be doing that if Nikolaenko were planning to flee,he said.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Gorence wasn'tconvinced, saying Nikolaenko had two passports and $4,000 in cash when he wasarrested. She said Van Wagner could request a new bond hearing once the defencearranged for a place for Nikolaenko to live, a request Van Wagner said he would"absolutely" make.

Prosecutors say they sniffed out Nikolaenko'strail during the prosecution of another man convicted in Missouri of conspiring to traffic incounterfeit Rolex watches. The say details emerged that led them on a far-flunginvestigation that eventually helped them tie Nikolaenko to one of the mostsophisticated spamming networks in the world — "Mega-D," whichinvestigators said accounted for 32 per cent of all worldwide spam.

Investigators say Mega-D was a botnet, short for"robot network," in which users' computers are infected withso-called malware that allows someone to remotely hijack the computer and haveit send out spam emails. The Mega-D network included more than half a million infectedcomputers.

Nikolaenko is due in court Dec. 21 for ascheduling conference. Gorence said his trial must start no later than Feb. 11.

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