Pharmacy spam uses Twitter as disguise


Today’s hot offer: Love performance enhancing small blue and yellow pills in various packaging sizes. But the product range offers even more than that. The online pharmacies have a huge number of other drugs and pharmaceuticals available. But buying (essential) medicine through such websites is anything but a good idea!

Looking closer at the presented pharmacy websites, we can see that they are identical to the ones we reported about earlier this year when the volcano Eyjafjallajoekull halted the air traffic. The URLs changed, but the rest remains the same scheme.


There are several risks originating from these sites and the gangs behind it: First of all, if one ever receives pharmaceuticals from these shops, the medicine offered does most probably not originate from legitimate, officially certified pharmaceutical companies, but from bogus operations obtaining their similar-sounding and similar-looking pharma from unregulated offshore laboratories manufacturing substandard and oftentimes dangerous products. That is one reason why these pharmacies do not ask for prescriptions. Secondly, the purchase of goods with credit card details on these websites will most probably result in credit card fraud and unintended loss of money. And another danger, which should not be underestimated, is a rare but possible infection of the computer with malware while visiting the web pages.


Regarding to an analysis, published by the US National Assocition of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) in August 2010, 6,854 of 7,101 conducted Internet drug outlets are currently listed as Not Recommended - that is 96.52%. Amongst other criteria 3,776 sites do not provide any physical address, 2,374 have server locations in foreign countries and 1,111 do not have secure sites. Only 247 of the checked websites (3.48%) appear to be potentially legitimate.[1]

The web pages G Data detected try to divert the visitor’s glaze from all the possible trouble the site may cause by providing a professional look and feel. It is heavily based on the original, trustworthy online pharmacy sites’ designs. You can find shiny logos, honest- and healthy-looking young people, many fake glossy certificates and licenses, false Verisign Secured Site claims, etc.



Most of the spam mails used for this new wave also look very genuine. In April, the scamsters lured with subjects connected to recent news with public interests. Now they jump on the most popular online microblogging service: Twitter. After all, Twitter “is now attracting 190 million visitors per month and generating 65 million Tweets a day”[2] and this huge public interest makes it very attractive for spammers. Have a look at one spam example:


But the three links provided do not lead to neither the recipient’s messages, nor the “not my account”-website or the Twitter support page. They all open pharmacy sites:

  • Dr. MaXman
  • Canadian  Pharmacy
  • Pharmacy Express


The first e-mails had subject lines like:

  • Twitter List NAME
  • Why Update Twitter through Email NAME
  • Twitter Faworites NAME
  • Twittermail NAME
  • Funny Twitter statuses
  • Twitter update
  • Mobile apps for twitter NAME
  • most made twitter for mind years eating


But they then turned into a less creative but legitimare subject:

  • E-MAIL_ADDRESS: You have DIGIT unread direct messages on Twitter!


Taking everything into consideration, we do recommend you do not get involved in any of these bogus pharmacy activities. An interesting rule of thumb regarding these illegal practices: “Prescription Drugs: Buying online can mean doing time!”

Ordering medication online can be a safe and money-saving experience. But you should only do so through licensed online pharmacies, which operate in your country and also require a prescription.