FBI Arrests Russian Spammer Behind Notorious "Mega-D" Botnet
The young Russian man who this week was the subject of a TSG story about his alleged operation of a notorious spam botnet was actually arrested last month on a federal felony charge while visiting Las Vegas for an automotive trade show.
Oleg Nikolaenko, 23, was named in a one-count felony indictment charging him with violating the CAN-SPAM Act, which covers the legal use of commercial e-mail. According to an FBI affidavit, Nikolaenko operated “Mega-D,” a malicious botnet that was used to send a staggering amount of spam e-mail on behalf of scam artists selling counterfeit goods and unapproved drugs.
Experts cited by federal investigators reported that Nikolaenko’s botnet controlled more than 500,000 infected computers that were capable of sending a total of ten billion spam e-mails a day. Remarkably, at one point last year, “Mega-D” reportedly accounted for nearly a third of the spam clogging the Internet.
Nikolaenko, who resides on the outskirts of Moscow, was first named in a November 3 felony complaint sworn by FBI Agent Brett Banner. It appears that the filing of that document was spurred by the discovery that Nikolaenko had arrived in the country days earlier (he landed in New York and traveled to Las Vegas, where he was staying at the Bellagio hotel).
Nikolaenko, who was indicted on November 16, has been in custody since his arrest on November 4. Nikolaenko, pictured in the above United States Marshals Service mug shot, is scheduled for an appearance tomorrow in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee.