Unbeatable spammer takes beating, dies

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Spam behemoth Vardan Kushnir has emailed his last Russian after being bludgeoned to death on Sunday.

According to Russian news agency Interfax, the 35-year-old Armenian was found dead in his apartment in Moscow, after apparently suffering numerous blows to the head. His death brings to an end the career of one of the world's most prolific and committed spammers.

Kushnir waged a spam campaign from his company the American Language Center (ALC), an English language school in Moscow. Although it operated a website, it was often taken down by anti-spam forces, so generally the emails asked users to call its phonelines.

"A huge amount of spam was (and is still being) sent to over 20 million email addresses belonging to Russian-speaking people," said Mikko Hyponnen director of antivirus research, F-Secure. "They say that you can hardly find a Russian who has never received a spam advertising the ALC."

As a result of his efforts Russians were understandably annoyed and launched their own anti-spam campaign against Kushnir. Users of forums were encouraged to call his offices and disrupt phone lines. ALC numbers were frequently found on call-girl cards in an attempt to inconvenience Kushnir. A murder case has been opened by Moscow police, who are still working out a motive for the attack.

In November 2003 ALC was investigated by the Russian Anti-Monopoly Committee but no legal case against the company was formed.

Earlier this month SC reported another of the world's most notorious spammers had decided to turn his back on spam. Self-styled spam-king Scott Richter has been spam free for over six months.


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