Pharmaceutical Affiliate Programs Increase Chances of Spam Scam
According to news released by ZDNet on October 20, 2008, pharmaceutical affiliate plans have contributed significantly in raising online crime activities as the payout rates are high. High payout rates attract the participants of affiliate networks to spam. This encourages SQL injections to divert visitors towards malicious domains. Also, spammers directly promote the malicious Websites on the dominant search engines.
Meanwhile, security specialists say that about 50 Americans on an average purchase pharmaceutical products from their agencies every hour (nearly 85% of total sales).
Furthermore, the underground arrangement for pharmaceutical based spam is comparable to the ecosystem of legitimate online stores. This is so because it has been successfully expanding in a similar manner (through affiliate programs in which the scammers share the revenues with the affiliate network's participants who would carry out numerous illegal activities and at the same time get high commissions during the process).
Also, it is worth mentioning that though the programs claim that they never approve spam traffic from botnets onto their Web pages, certain managers of the program give exactly the contrasting view across various forums.
Furthermore, security specialists stated that with spamming costs continuously declining due to the efficiencies of spam managers, the small number of purchases by the massive number of spammed customers could mean sufficient revenues for spammers who not only break-into, but also make profits.
In addition, security experts revealed that 64% of pharmaceutical companies do not safeguard customer data, putting identity information of consumers at risk. This rate has increased compared to 50% last year (2007). Security experts said that spammers exploit unsecured data.
Researchers further said that determining the legitimacy of a pharmacy is not at all difficult for users. For instance, a certain online pharmacy labeled as Canadian is hosted at the Russian Federation, as is evident from its IP address. In 2007, it showed a Los Angeles area code, while this year (2008), the company displays a Texas phone number. These contradictions therefore make spam identification easy.
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» SPAMfighter News - 03-11-2008