Security researcher reveals that pharma spam may no longer be profitable for scammers

According to Brian Krebs of the Krebs on Security newswire, earlier this year, Russian police arrested Dmitriy Stupin, a man known in hacker circles as SaintD, rumoured to be the right-hand man of Igor Gusev, the alleged proprietor of GlavMed and SpamIt, which, until recently, were the largest sources of spam promoting rogue internet pharmacies.

Over the last week, he says, more than four years' worth of chat conversations - apparently between Stupin, Gusev and dozens of other GlavMed employees - were leaked, and which show that there were financial problems with the pharma spam promotional cost model.

“The chat records between Stupin and Gusev, a tiny sliver of which is translated here from Russian into English, suggest that the two men paid authorities for protection”, says Krebs in his latest security posting, suggesting that this may have been the root cause of the firm's lack of profitability.

In his detailed transcripts of the spammer's instant messaging session, he notes that, as well as being concerned about the possibility of arrest and prosecution for their spamming activities, the spammers realised that the pharma spam business was no longer profitable for them.

At one point last year, says Krebs, GlavMed and SpamIt had debits to suppliers of $150,000 and an amazing debt of $1.1 million owing to advertisers, yet the company only had $800,000 in its account, despite not drawing from the firm's bank accounts.

And in the longer term, the spam kings said in their online chats, closing down the two operation's services could cost the operators somewhere between $500,00 and $1 million, which they would have to pay,

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