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Spammers Gain Higher Profits by Touting Fake Pharmaceuticals

The Security Specialists at Cisco Systems, security services vendor, said on June 11, 2008 that some extremely prolific spammers used to advertise products to earn only a tiny amount of money for every million e-mails they sent, or to trick consumers into revealing their credit card details.

But now, about 80% of that junk mails promote drugs from Websites like MyCanadianPharmacy.com, which yields an estimated $150 Millions every year, according to Security Researcher Pat Peterson at Cisco Systems Inc, as reported by on June 11, 2008.

The spammers have discovered that the highest growth potential and profit lies in actually delivering the counterfeit Viagra and other drugs. Meanwhile, researchers found that the spammers were using the Storm worm to send phony drug spam. Storm is a malicious software that converts ordinary computers into zombies to spew spam.

The spammers have not only learnt how to outsmart the industry of computer security, but also how to make their businesses self-sustaining, while maintaining substantial part of their earnings for R&D of new methods to ship their merchandise.

As per researchers' estimates, these kinds of phony spam already account for three-quarters of the entire e-mail. Moreover, an estimated one in six Internet-connected PCs has been corrupted by programs that convert them into spam-spewing robots.

The fake spam mails typically exploit software vulnerabilities and people's curiosity to increase their numbers. For instance, the Storm malware uses various tricks on users to get them to download the worm. Rather than include attachments that might appear suspicious, Storm sends e-mails carrying links to bogus YouTube videos and holiday cards.

When these Websites are accessed, the malware hunts for security flaws in the user's browser as well as other applications. If they can't find any, they trick the user into downloading a supposed software or video player that infects her/his computer with the Trojan.

Furthermore, to add attractive elements to the spam mails, Storm uses subject lines on current events like the winter storm in Europe. Computer owners normally fail to notice the conversion of their systems into spam pawns as the PCs are put to service only occasionally.

Related article: Spammers Continue their Campaigns Successfully

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