Spam in Decline After Disappearance of Russian Ringleader
According to the New York Times, Russian authorities believe the disappearance of spam mastermind Igor Gusev has directly precipitated a marked decrease in spam frequency. Gusev allegedly evaded police because of an impending criminal investigation, but his hasty retreat also left the SpamIt organization without a key player. SpamIt orchestrates pharmaceutical spam blasts, but the organization ceased its bankrolling ventures after Gusev vanished. Spammers subsequently "curtailed their activity by an estimated 50 billion messages a day," a total which represents approximately 20-percent of the world's spam.
The Times does confirm that Russian authorities and spammers sometimes work in conjunction to wage cyberwar against Russia's political and regional rivals. Considering Russia's recent spy ring embarrassment and the nation's alleged connection to the Stuxnet code, could this just be a nicely timed publicity move intended to spark a little positive media attention?