Cyber security researchers estimate that organized criminal gangs in Russia make up to $60 Million a year from selling spam.
The spammers control computers infected with a virus that allows the spambot to send out emails selling Viagra or any type other type of product. Most of the infected computers are located in Brazil, India, and other developing countries where computer users are unable to afford virus protection. Owners of computers that send out spam usually do not know that their computer is sending out the messages.
The impact to businesses from spam is estimated to be around $6 Billion a year, as companies are forced to pay for spam filters and in lost revenue from counterfeit drugs.
Source: Andrew E. Kramer, “Online Attack Leads to Peek Into Spam Den,” New York Times, September 2, 2013.