Banks in Azerbaijan that have courted the shadowy trade in spam-advertised pharmaceuticals now have cornered the market for processing credit card payments for fake antivirus software, new data reveals.
In June, KrebsOnSecurity highlighted research from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) showing that Azerigazbank, a financial institution in Azerbaijan, was the primary merchant bank for most major online-fraud pharmacy affiliate programs. By the time that research was published, those programs had moved their business to another bank in Azerbaijan, JSCB Bank Standard.
First, the good news: The past year has witnessed the decimation of spam volume, the arrests of several key hackers, and the high-profile takedowns of some of the Web’s most notorious botnets. The bad news? The crooks behind these huge… Read More »
More than half of all sales at the world’s largest rogue Internet pharmacy in the last four years were charged to credit and debit cards issued by the top seven card-issuing banks, new research suggests.
Unlicensed pharmacies create public health risks and confuse consumers who are looking for safe and reliable prescription medicines. Rogue pharma Web sites are primarily advertised with the help of spam, malicious software, and hacked Web sites. Curbing this drug dealing activity would promote both public health and Internet users’ safety.
Recent findings highlight additional levers that policymakers could use to curb sales at rogue online pharmacies, by convincing the card-issuing banks to stop accepting these charges or by enacting legislation similar to that used to squelch online gambling operations.
Pavel Vrublevsky, the embattled co-founder of ChronoPay — Russia’s largest online payments processor — has reportedly fled the country after the arrest of a suspect who confessed that he was hired by Vrublevsky to launch a debilitating cyber attack against… Read More »
Microsoft has fingered a possible author of the late Rustock spam botnet – a self-described software engineer and mathematician who aspired to one day be hired by Google. Microsoft has apparently allocated significant resources to finding the author, but has not been able to locate him.
Rustock remains dead, but Microsoft is still on the hunt for the Rustock author. In its Second Status Report (PDF) filed last week with a district court in Seattle, Microsoft said it inquired with Webmoney about the owner of the account, and confirmed that it was affiliated with a man named Vladimir Alexandrovich Shergin. Microsoft also mentioned another suspect, “Cosma2k,” possibly named Dmitri A. Sergeev, Artem Sergeev, or Sergey Vladomirovich Sergeev. Microsoft said it is continuing its investigation of these names, to determine whether additional contact information can be identified and to which notice and service can be effected.
An organized crime group thought to include individuals responsible for the notorious Storm and Waledac worms generated more than $150 million promoting rogue online pharmacies via spam and hacking, according to data obtained by KrebsOnSecurity.com.
The man arrested in Armenia last week for allegedly operating the massive “Bredolab” botnet — a network of some 30 million hacked Microsoft Windows PCs that were rented out to cyber crooks — appears to have generated much of his clientele as a key affiliate of Spamit.com, the global spamming operation whose members are blamed for sending a majority of the world’s pharmaceutical spam.
Spam trackers are seeing a fairly dramatic drop in junk e-mail sent over the past few days, specifically spam relayed by the one of the world’s largest spam botnets – although security experts disagree on exactly which botnet may be throttling back or experiencing problems.
Spamit, a closely guarded affiliate program that for years has paid some of the world’s top spammers to promote counterfeit pharmacy Web sites, now says that it will close up shop at the end of September.