Awaiting extradiction to the U.S. …

Alleged Spam King Pyotr Levashov Arrested | Krebs on Security |

Authorities in Spain have arrested a Russian computer programmer thought to be one of the world’s most notorious spam kingpins.

Spanish police arrested Pyotr Levashov [Петр Левашов] under an international warrant executed in the city of Barcelona, according to Reuters. Russian state-run television station RT (formerly Russia Today) reported that Levashov was arrested while vacationing in Spain with his family.

According to an exhaustive analysis published in my book — Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime — Severa likely made more money renting Waledac and other custom spam botnets to other spammers than blasting out junk email on his own. For $200, vetted users could hire one of his botnets to send 1 million pieces of spam. Junk email campaigns touting auction and employment scams cost $300 per million, and phishing emails designed to separate unwary email users from their usernames and passwords could be blasted out through Severa’s botnet for the bargain price of $500 per million.

The above-referenced Reuters story on Levashov’s arrest cited reporting from Russian news outlet RT which associated Levashov with hacking attacks linked to alleged interference in last year’s U.S. election. But subsequent updates from Reuters cast doubt on those claims.

“A U.S. Department of Justice official said it was a criminal matter without an apparent national security connection,” Reuters added in an update to an earlier version of its story.

US and UK media back on track with ‘fake’ headlines …

Media reports link alleged Russian hacker held in Spain to ‘Trump’s election win’ | AP / LA Times |
Is THIS the Russian programmer who ‘hacked’ the election? | Daily Mail |
US election ‘hacking’: Russian man arrested in Spain at request of American authorities  | The Independent |

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