Risk
8/26/2008
02:34 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Online Pharmacy Risks Rising, Report Finds

Criminals are trying to take advantage of consumer interest in low-cost medicines by offering counterfeit drugs and spamming to drive sales at online pharmacies.

Online pharmacies are becoming more popular among consumers and criminals, raising the possibility of online fraud and counterfeit medicines.

Consumers are looking to save money because pharmaceuticals are expensive and the economy is weak. Trademark tracking service MarkMonitor estimates that while the actual number of online pharmacies declined from 3,160 last summer to 2,986 today, sales have risen from $4 billion to $12 billion and the average number of daily visitors at pharmacy sites has risen from 32,000 last year to 99,000 this year.

Criminals meanwhile are looking to take advantage of consumer interest by offering counterfeit drugs and spamming to drive sales at online pharmacies. In a report issued in June, Cisco's Ironport found that 80% of Storm botnet spam advertised online pharmacy brands.

Irfan Salim, president and CEO of trademark tracking service MarkMonitor, says that pharmaceutical companies need to do more to prevent their customers from buying fake and potentially dangerous medicines.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expressed similar concerns for years. Last year, the FDA warned that "a number of Americans who placed orders for specific drug products over the Internet (Ambien, Xanax, Lexapro, and Ativan), instead received a product that, according to preliminary analysis, contains haloperidol, a powerful anti-psychotic drug."

According to MarkMontor's Summer 2008 Brandjacking Index, brandjackers -- those who attempt to hijack other company's brands for their own gain -- spent $26 million last year on keyword advertising for six drug brands. Of 11,836 search ads analyzed, the firm found that none of the ads was paid for by the legitimate trademark holder.

More than two-thirds of the ads showed trademark abuse, MarkMonitor's report says. All the online pharmacy ads it tested led to misleading sites and none of the sites were certified under the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites standard established by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Of the 2,986 online pharmacies studied by MarkMonitor, only 2 were VIPPS-certified.

The report also found that 64% of these online pharmacies put their customers' data at risk by not using SSL encryption for e-commerce.

Cybersquatting -- registration of domain names associated with established trademarks -- rose 35% last year for drug brands, the report says.

"Brand abuse is increasing, but more important than the sheer volume is that the level of sophistication is increasing too," the report concludes. "Cybersquatting continues to be the top tool of choice for brandjackers, and the number of first-time phishing targets is on the rise. Online drug brands continue to see some very aggressive marketing from fraudsters who have established businesses with a growing supply chain and sophisticated paid search eco-system."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.