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Study Links Storm Botnet's Growth To Illegal Drugs 207

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the nobody-saw-that-one-coming dept.
talkinsecurity writes "Researchers at IronPort today published a study which claims to have found the 'smoking gun' that links the rapid growth of the Storm botnet to spammers that sell prescription drugs illegally over the Internet. The study shows that more than 80 percent of Storm-generated spam is advertising online pharmacy brands, and further investigation showed that spam templates, credit card processing, product fulfillment and customer support are all being provided by a 'Russian criminal organization' that operates in conjunction with Storm. This criminal organization recruits botnet spamming partners to advertise their illegal pharmacy Websites, which receive a 40 percent commission on sales orders. IronPort went as far as to do pharmacological testing on the products, and found that two-thirds of the drugs contained the wrong dosage of the active ingredient, and the rest were placebos."
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Study Links Storm Botnet's Growth To Illegal Drugs

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  • It's True (Score:5, Funny)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:23PM (#23749501) Journal

    Study Links Storm Botnet's Growth To Illegal Drugs
    When I'm hepped up on goofballs I will install anything on my computer. "MsBlastWorm32BotNetMegaD.exe" attachment from my bro out in Cali? Let's fire 'er up!

    And you don't even want to see my home directory when I'm freebasing Wormwood. Let's just say it's a good thing it's on a totally separate hard drive when I'm riding the green worm.
    • Re:It's True (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:45PM (#23749925)
      what a horrible headline.

      we have enough problems with people confusing hackers with crackers (etc); we have the ever-present 'war on drugs' (that will NEVER end; see the book '1984' and its view on why a continual war on 'something' is always good for the gov.).

      but this is NOT about 'illegal drugs'; its about the LEGAL ones that do many of the same things the 'illegal ones' do but have congress supporting them. the problem is, the 'legal drugs' are outrageously priced (compared to the true selling price that the rest of the world tends to get) and so OF COURSE people on limited income (that's most of us, btw) can't afford the artificially high (heh) drug prices.

      THAT is the problem to solve. make drugs affordable and there will be NO MORE 'online pharms'.

      but why *solve* the root-cause problem? its not the american way anymore (sadly) ;(

      at any rate, this is not about 'illegal drugs'. what they are selling may or may not be quality; but the compounds you are buying are NOT illegal!

      for once, lets tie spam to the LEGAL otc drugs. tell it how it is - that by the large-scale addiction we create on so-called legal drugs, we have forced people to go around the very expensive system and find other ways to get their 'legal fix'.

      you have to look at the magnitude of how evil the 2 sides are. arguably if the health care system was WORKING, we wouldn't have a market for 'affordable' prescription drugs.

      fix the real problem and the ancillary one will fix itself.

      • Re:It's True (Score:5, Interesting)

        by beadfulthings (975812) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @01:32PM (#23750873) Journal
        Too bad I don't have points to mod you up. Instead, I offer this recent story from the Baltimore Sun [baltimoresun.com] about a trial that's going on right now. These folks started out with a legitimate professional pharmacy delivering prescriptions to local nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The online drugs marked proved to be too lucrative, the drug of choice was hydrocodone. They're also in trouble over a lot of subsidiary issues like tax evasion. The genuine irony of this piece is behind the scenes. I recalled reading the article but not the exact date, so I used the Sun's search box with "internet drugs trial." The results came back just fine--along with a paid advert for "Canadian Online Pharmacy."

        The people to be pitied in all this aren't the ones abusing pain meds. It's the middle-aged suddenly unemployed guy who takes meds for hypertension or the elderly person who's in the notorious "hole" in the middle of the Medicare drug benefit or the financially struggling young couple with a child who needs some lifesaving drug or other. Or, perhaps, the employed person whose health care benefit has shriveled to nothing.
      • So shop at Walmart (Score:4, Informative)

        by DnemoniX (31461) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @02:00PM (#23751443)
        Just a heads up, but there are now roughly 416 generic prescription drugs available to you for only $4 at Walmart and several other chains are joining this trend. Several are also available in 90 day supplies for $10. This pricing is available to anyone regardless of having insurance or not. $4 that is it. The list of meds now also includes birth control and some breast cancer medications. So your theory on why people circumvent the system is seriously flawed.

        The real draw to these online pharmacies are the drugs like Viagra and Cialis which are not available in a generic formula. What drives these sales is not the cost it is the embarrassment. Men do not want to go ask the family doctor for E.D. meds they would rather risk going online, picking some up in Mexico or going without. Interestingly enough their Dentist buddy or their vet could just as easily write them a script for any of the above legally.
        • by DrYak (748999)
          There's also the problem when the doctor refuses to write a prescription for obvious reasons of addiction.

          The addict may be shopping around for several physician in order to have enough prescriptions from all of them for his habit but spacing enough time between consultation at each one not to raise suspicions.

          This strategy could work, but is tedious and costly. Getting those drugs on-line simplifies the process and cuts the doctor's cost out of the equation.

          Interestingly enough their Dentist buddy or their vet could just as easily write them a script for any of the above legally.

          What ? In the USA vets and dentist have the righ

          • by DnemoniX (31461) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @03:07PM (#23752787)
            Yes vets and your dentist can both prescribe any medication they want, they are all medical doctors, just of different flavors so to speak. My soon to be wife is a pharmacist, she says she fills prescriptions for pets all the time. There are several medications that are used for both humans and animals. Even more surprising is that your dentist could perform cosmetic surgery after a weekend seminar. Try to google the key works "dentist cosmetic surgery". One of the top results says "Find Doctors and Dentists for Breast Augmentation".
            • by DrYak (748999)
              Here in Switzerland specialities (human medecine vs. vets vs. dentists vs. legal medicine) are much more separated into compartments and strongly regulated.

              In fact you can't give a pet human drugs even if the name written on the box is the only difference.

              My god. Why didn't I study in the USA ?
              • by DnemoniX (31461)
                That is interesting considering that the same families of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors are used for both humans and dogs. I even had a vet tell me to use childrens strength Bendryll to sedate my cat while I moved to a new house.

                In regards to dentists, an oral surgeon is still just a specialized dentist, yet they perform surgery under while many patients are fully sedated. They also regularly prescribe antibiotics and pain killers.
              • Link (Score:3, Informative)

                by DnemoniX (31461)
                Here is an interesting link regarding human/animal drug use. http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2000/600_pets.html

      • While I am in total agreement with your sentiment, I would point out one small nit:

        what they are selling may or may not be quality;

        The last sentence of the summary would seem to suggest that what they sell is *not* quality. So a more accurate description would be "illegally counterfeit or substandard pharmaceuticals". Of course, that probably isn't as effective at pushing the buttons of soccer moms as "illegal drugs".

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by pieisgood (841871)
        Drug prices are expensive because it costs nearly 1 billion dollars to create one new drug. Each pharmaceutical must spend a billion dollars to push out ONE drug. This is why AIDS medications and others are so expensive. There are so little with this disease that it's hard to make 1 billion dollars back in the scope of the patent. Health care has nothing to do with how expensive drugs are, the FDA actually does. They require such stringent research on medications (this includes years of human trials) that i
        • by tsm_sf (545316)

          There are so little with this disease who can afford the treatment that it's hard to make 1 billion dollars back in the scope of the patent.
          Fixed that for you. Don't forget Africa.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Buran (150348)
          And yet, if you live in Canada or elsewhere you get the same drug for far less. We're being ripped off by drug makers that game our crappy health care system. But thanks for trying.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by limaxray (1292094)

          It's good to see someone understands why drugs cost what they do. While a billion dollars per drug may be a bit on the high side, it is not an exaggeration as bringing drugs to market in the US is INSANELY expensive. FDA requires very strict processes that take years to approve a new drug.

          This is further compounded by the fact that the amount of time a company has to earn a return on their investment is limited by the life of their patent. Once a patent expires, the drug goes generic and the company th

          • Yet we've spent 500 billion dollars in Iraq. Just imagine, that could have been 500 billion dollors in government grants to pharmaceutical research! It could have been saving people instead of killing millions! It could have fed the continent of africa for x amount of years.. yadayadayada.
        • if they didn't spend so damned much on ADVERTISING the drugs, they would have more than enough to price them at what the world ALREADY pays.

          this is an unnecessary cost and its also about bilking americans more .... because they can! there is no valid reason for the diff in prices between regions. the same amount of 'safety testing' (yeah, right, if you call it that) is done here and there and all over. this BS about 'american stuff is better and safer' is just that - BS.

      • They are illegal (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phorm (591458)
        Selling placebos as the real thing, or drugs that may contain the real thing (but in doses that are dangerous) is still illegal.

        While the actual pills may not contain a substance that is "illegal", the manner in which they are presented is. Kinda like how alcohol is legal, but it can only be sold under certain conditions (and not to minors, etc).
        • by mpe (36238)
          Selling placebos as the real thing, or drugs that may contain the real thing (but in doses that are dangerous) is still illegal.

          Yet there dosn't appear to be much law enforcement effort going into dealing with this. Even though there must be quite a trail of evidence involved.
          • by cdrguru (88047)
            When the trail leads from an IP address to a country that doesn't care to enforce some laws to some hapless goof that is buying stuff online where do you go? The IP address isn't anywhere - there are laws in place to protect the privacy of that information. The country that doesn't care gets some revenue since the shipments are coming from there.

            I guess it all comes down on the hapless goof buying the stuff. Sure, let's put him in prison.

            Unless you are an idiot or a braggart, committing crime on the Inte
      • by Khashishi (775369)
        It's against the law, so it's illegal.
    • Meh, the title says it all:

      Study Links Storm Botnet's Growth To Illegal Drugs
      It is obvious that Storm Botnet has been implicated in the Balco scandal. Expect Congressional hearings any day to determine if Storm's use of 'the clear' and 'the cream' has resulted in the extraordinary growth of Storm Botnet, and the resultant increase in HRs, RBIs, and TDs.
  • Water is wet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:24PM (#23749525)
    No, really, computers are useful for business purposes, and illegal drug purveyors are running a business. Did people really think that computers would only ever be used for legal businesses? It is like an article that says, "New report on drug dealers using drinking water to prevent death by dehydration!"
  • by jeiler (1106393) <go,bugger,off&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:25PM (#23749537) Journal
    Does that mean the V1@GR@ I got from that nice on-line pharmacy was fake? O.O
    • Remember, jeiler: all I'm offering you is the truth...
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)
      Actually a lot of it isnt. Its a knock-off brand but with the active ingredient. There was recently an advisory for people who buy herbal viagra that it contains the same active ingredient as the real stuff and they are at risk if they have heart issues. So ironically, not only is the fake stuff sometimes real, so is the herbal stuff.
    • by ozbird (127571)
      Didn't you learn anything from The Matrix? Take the red pill, not the blue pill.
    • by MWoody (222806)
      Yes, Dumbo, the feather was just a normal feather. All along, it was YOU who was making your penis fly!
  • I used to care about people getting scammed. Now I just think they're getting what they deserve.

    Too bad that's a blanket statement as I'm sure there is an unfortunate minority who aren't trying to get a fix and genuinely have a need...
    • Too bad that's a blanket statement as I'm sure there is an unfortunate minority who aren't trying to get a fix and genuinely have a need...
      It's hard to imagine a legitimate scenario where someone would be forced to use spammers to provide their meds. As for the internet stock scams, or the Nigerian scam, only the greedy will apply.

      All in all, I don't think you needed the disclaimer.
      • by jgarra23 (1109651) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:49PM (#23750003)

        It's hard to imagine a legitimate scenario where someone would be forced to use spammers to provide their meds. As for the internet stock scams, or the Nigerian scam, only the greedy will apply.

        All in all, I don't think you needed the disclaimer.


        Normally I would agree with you :)

        When I was in college I broke my wrist falling on some ice while doing laundry around 4am (long story, you know college...) anyway, i went to the hospital in all my dirty clothing & they refused to give me any pain medication for fear I was some hippie junkie (no kidding) just looking for a fix. Luckily my dad was head of ultrasound there & as soon as he showed up their attitude did a 180. I didn't even want the drugs, I'm allergic to opiates but the principle of the whole thing... The pain was pretty intense, who could I turn to for pain management when the hospital thought I was just some bum because I was in dirty clothes had I not had some "pull" there?

        It was a pretty scary thought and still haunts me to this day.
        • There are also a lot of individuals with various developmental and psychological issues, including lack of intelligence, that will fall for the price and then not get what they thought they were paying for.

          At $5-10 pill for ED drugs, a huge percentage off seems like a good thing to the clue-challenged. Like it or not, they need protection, too. That's what safety considerations are all about.

          The very fact that the Storm bots exist is a travesty. Shame on OS makers. Shame.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          I'm allergic to opiates (long story, you know college...)
          There, fixed that for you.
          • by jgarra23 (1109651)

            I'm allergic to opiates (long story, you know college...)
            There, fixed that for you.


            Heheh, you fooled me- for a moment I thought I wrote it that way!!!
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by limaxray (1292094)

          This isn't too uncommon, but it is pretty understandable. The DEA and other law enforcement agencies have thrown a number of doctors in jail for 'over prescribing' pain killers. Sure there are a number of instances where doctors do abuse their prescription writing powers, but even doctors who treat patients with legitimate chronic pain have been locked up.

          This has created a bit of a fear to prescribe such drugs, and now you'll find a lot of doctors reluctant to give these drugs even if they are the best

      • by wattrlz (1162603)

        It's even harder to imagine a legitimate business that would have to resort to spammers to sell their meds.

    • by wattrlz (1162603)

      The problem with that statement is these people's ignorance is causing repercussions for everybody. If some poor soul can't afford six bucks a pop for V1@GR@ and, against all logic, turns to an unsolicited email for help, that's all profit for the spammer and significant profit for the drug shipper. What incentive does this give either of them to use more legitimate means of business? So, they continue to spam, or spam more, and we suffer. Oh, some guy got a counterfeit erectile-dysfunction medication boo

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Miamicanes (730264)
        > but you know the truth: unintentional DoS from the sheer volume of spam out there,

        Oh god, don't remind me. Up until about 3 years ago, I ran my own mail server (DSL, fixed IP, old PC). One of the things I did was enable SASL authentication for SMTP (which requires logging in with a username and password before outgoing mail will be accepted for relay). Within a matter of months, spammers around the world figured out that I had a live SMTP server running on port 25. SASL AUTH or not, more and more spamm
  • The link provided leads to an all-Flash page. Suspicious.

  • legalize all drugs
    • by SimonGhent (57578)

      legalize all drugs

      Including counterfeits of branded ones? These guys aren't selling weed and poppers.

      Smart idea.
      • These guys aren't necessarily selling counterfeits. It could very well be the actual drug, obtained in an illicit manner (prescription farming).
        • by Goaway (82658)
          So the actual ones sometimes don't contain any dosage at all?
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The most common practice is to sell expired medications with new packaging. Counterfeit medications are not as common as the costs associated with producing "good enough" facsimiles of the real medication are higher than illegally obtaining medications marked for destruction.
    • by magarity (164372)
      Get off the drugs long enough to read even the summary - it isn't about illegal drugs as in cocaine, it's about illegal drugs as in pirated copies. Unlike pirated movies or music where if the copy isn't up to quality it just affects your viewing pleasure, low quality or outright fake illegal copies of prescription medication can get people killed.
      • by Hatta (162192)
        There wouldn't be any market for counterfeit drugs if legitimate copies were available at a price that was not inflated by patents.
        • by piojo (995934)

          There wouldn't be any market for counterfeit drugs if legitimate copies were available at a price that was not inflated by patents.

          I dislike patents in a lot of cases, but a drug costs a lot to produce. The people that do the R&D are highly educated and trained, so they will want to get paid a lot. Imagine the experiments needed to ensure that a drug works (or find out what exactly it does), and more experiments to find out whether it's safe and what its side effects are. I am not an authoritative source, but I have heard that getting FDA approval for a drug often (always?) takes years. Coming up with new drugs in a safe and legal

          • by Hatta (162192)
            Most drug research is paid for by the public in the form of subsidies, or university researchers. What isn't paid by the government is still paid for by the public, in the price of the pill. So why don't we just agree that the public should pay for drug research, and do it up front. Then everyone can benefit from the fruits of our research.

            Patents aren't the only way for us to fund research. They might be the most profitable for the pharmaceutical companies, but that doesn't mean it's the best for societ
            • by piojo (995934)
              Yes, because the government uses money so efficiently. I'm sure that if medical research were nationalized, surely the greatest minds in the United States would flock to become government employees. Except, what happens when a war-mongering, power hungry president slashes their funding so that he can spend it on an offensive war, or something?
    • legalize all drugs

      If you consider the drugs that spammers have been trying to sell me recently, I don't think many people would agree with your idea.

      I know I, for one, would rather not have people in public that are doped up on morphine/vicodin/valium. And of course when you consider these same offers are also scalping at least 8 different varieties of erectile dysfunction drugs ...

      Granted, certain people [slashdot.org] swear [slashdot.org] consistently that I must be [slashdot.org] a Nazi [slashdot.org] because I support leaving the marijuana laws alone. So of course you a

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I know I, for one, would rather not have people in public that are doped up on morphine/vicodin/valium.


        And why is this? I worked for many months on med-high (recreational) doses codeine (an opiate) and diazepam, and I probably worked better on them than I do now I'm off of them.

        Does other people getting "high" bother you? Have you ever taken any of the drugs that you've mentioned?
        • Have you ever taken any of the drugs that you've mentioned?

          I have taken vicodin. I woke up in a cold sweat trying to find my bed.

          I've taken codeine as well. Have you never had a migraine?
      • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @01:44PM (#23751101) Journal
        I know I, for one, would rather not have people in public that are doped up on morphine/vicodin/valium.

        Tough. People already use drugs, they will always use drugs. Chances are you know an opiate addict and don't even know it.

        And yes, advocating the imprisonment of people for something as benign as cannabis is very nazi-ish. I smoke pot every day. I also work full time, pay my bills, and generally contribute positively to society. I don't hurt people, I don't steal, etc. If you would assault and kidnap (arrest and imprison) me just for kicking back with a bowl after work, then *you* are the dangerous one.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          If you would assault and kidnap (arrest and imprison) me just for kicking back with a bowl after work, then *you* are the dangerous one.

          When did I say arrest and imprison? How many people do you know who have been arrested just for using marijuana in a responsible manner?

          There are plenty of people who claim that cops go around kicking in doors and beating the hell out of people just for smoking pot in their homes. But yet there is almost no evidence of that happening to recreational users.

          The way that the laws are enforced for drugs are essentially the same as the way they are enforced for alcohol. Whether you chose to get drunk

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Hatta (162192)

            When did I say arrest and imprison? How many people do you know who have been arrested just for using marijuana in a responsible manner?


            You said leaving the current laws alone. If I were to take a joint with me to the park and enjoy it during a picnic, I'd stand a very good chance of being assaulted by a police officer. Hell, if I were to enjoy a joint in my own damn backyard during a BBQ, I'd stand a very good chance of being assaulted.

            There are plenty of people who claim that cops go around kicking in do
            • You said leaving the current laws alone. If I were to take a joint with me to the park and enjoy it during a picnic, I'd stand a very good chance of being assaulted by a police officer. Hell, if I were to enjoy a joint in my own damn backyard during a BBQ, I'd stand a very good chance of being assaulted.

              I can't drink alcohol in public parks - maybe they're different where you live. And where is your backyard relative to public property? Does your backyard butt up against an alleyway or park? Or perhaps some other public property?

              No, I don't claim that at all.

              I didn't say you claimed it. I said people claim it. You are likely human, but I did not say that all humans claim it. I didn't even say that all pot smokers claim it, for that matter.

              But they do randomly search cars for no reason.

              That depends on your jurisdiction. I was stopped by a NY state trooper for t

              • by Hatta (162192)

                I can't drink alcohol in public parks - maybe they're different where you live. And where is your backyard relative to public property? Does your backyard butt up against an alleyway or park? Or perhaps some other public property?

                Yes, alcohol is allowed in most public parks around here. Do you really think people use those grills without beer?

                And as for my backyard, it does back against the botanical gardens here, but I'm more concerned about my neighbors. Some dumb old lady sees me sitting back there, fr

                • Yes, alcohol is allowed in most public parks around here. Do you really think people use those grills without beer?

                  Those are two different statements. Just because people do drink in parks near you doesn't mean that they are allowed to do so. I don't know where you live. I do know that in the places I have lived thus far, alcohol has been banned in public parks. Which of course doesn't mean that 100% of the patrons obey that, but it was banned nonetheless.

                  Some dumb old lady sees me

                  It doesn't sound like you have very good relationships with your neighbors. I would suggest you try working on that and perhaps the problem won't be as si

    • by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @01:47PM (#23751179) Journal
      There is one class of drugs I would like to remain illegal, and that's antibiotics. It's bad enough that ill informed mommies take junior to the doctor when he has a virus and demands an antibiotic (doc, give 'em placebo).

      But if you make antibiotics over-the-counter it won't be long before none of them work. Even needing a prescription for such drugs there are already way too many sntibiotic-resistant bacteria.

      You should have the right to fuck your life up any way you want, but you damned sure shouldn't have the right to fuck mine up by making antibiotics useless. Legalizing them would do just that.
      • by penix1 (722987)
        The antibiotics you should be worried about are the ones in your food supply. That plus the growth hormones is why so many kids are so sick so young in the first place.
  • Botnets are run by illegal Russian "pharmacists"?

    NO $H!T

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by valderost (668593)
      If you'd been reading your spam, you'd know they're called "chemists" now, and they sell "pilules".
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:28PM (#23749609) Journal
    You guys have GOT to stop reading my journal! Next thing you know slahdot will be have stories about hookers...
  • Someone should do what was done in the lead-up to the Iraq war (where Bush/Blair/Howard deliberatly made it seem like Saddam was a lot more of a threat than he really was) and come up with some evidence linking all this crap to terrorists. Then the US will have no choice but to do something about it :)
  • It's possible to be educated beyond your intelligence, which leaves you a clueless elite. Obviously just because some people are educated on how to get their personal computer onto the Internet, they clearly don't navigate the hazards out there very well.
  • "...two-thirds of the drugs contained the wrong dosage of the active ingredient, and the rest were placebos."

    Wait, so 2/3 were the wrong dosage and 1/3 were placebos? None were correct?
  • I was placing orders on these sites in question. Should I continue doing so?

    As far as I know, the server accepts orders as long as the client-side Javascript doesn't make an objection - I could easily use randomly generated contact information for filling these forms or otherwise turn off Javascript to create an order with blank billing information. Of course, they've blocked TOR with a spurious "Invalid Server Configuration" error message, thus I actually have to use a direct connection from multiple po
  • Of course when the botnet spammers are profiting off the spamvertised sales of drugs, the botnet will grow. The money from said sales likely goes back into storm botnet development.

    If the same study had been done several years ago (before broadband at home became so common) the results would have been the same, with pirated software substituted where drugs are now. We can also thank the idiotic health care system in the US for this - some people are willing to try almost anything to save money on offi
  • Vote for universal health care...

    You'll eliminate 95% of this spam immediately.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Not likely. Spam is not about filling a need in the market, it's about greed. An "easy" way to make money. As an advertising model, spam itself doesn't stop being profitable just because the advertised product stops being profitable. Should the illegal pharmacists stop funding the spam, someone else will start. Way to miss the issue, friend.

    • by cdrguru (88047)
      Why? Do you honestly believe that some kind of "universal health care" would overnight make people not want drugs they don't need and shouldn't have? If anything, there would be more money available for people to buy drugs through various black-market channels.

      It might cut down on the drug purchases where the patient really has a prescription and is just looking for something cheaper. Might. Problem is, unless everything was free, the illegal sites dispensing crap would still be cheaper.
      • This is true if we continue to control drugs, but if we just lifted the prohibition entirely and let people pop whatever pills they wanted to, there could be no "illegal sites dispensing crap." There would simply be quality companies and poor companies, and the poor companies would get boycotted into bankruptcy.
  • Fake. Not placebo. (Score:3, Informative)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @01:32PM (#23750851) Journal
    Placebo is the term for the sugar pill given to patients undergoing clinical trial. It is a specific form of fake drug. What these criminals are peddling is not just plain fake drug, not something guaranteed to cause no harm. So this should not be called a placebo.
    • My god... (Score:2, Funny)

      by thewesterly (953211)

      Placebo is the term for the sugar pill given to patients undergoing clinical trial. It is a specific form of fake drug. What these criminals are peddling is not just plain fake drug, not something guaranteed to cause no harm. So this should not be called a placebo.
      Even the *placebos* are fake? Is nothing sacred?!
  • Study links Katrina to Columbian drug cartels!
  • WOD = Spam? (Score:3, Funny)

    by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @02:17PM (#23751819)
    If there were _not_ a "War on Drugs", would we see far less spam?
  • Oooo, Storm botnet? Sounds nasty. Shouldn't you be taking penicillin for that?

    [g]
  • Caveat Emptor... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BoRegardless (721219) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @02:39PM (#23752261)
    Applies not only to anyone using a personal computer, but to companies, ICANN & others who "oversee" the Internet structure who should have been creating new structures to prevent these sort of things proliferating. It is not just drugs but a never-ending blast of promos. It is not like we haven't seen this coming for years. Where are the responsible ISPs, who should literally shut off any personal computer that is sending spam? Doing that alone, and dialing out China, Russia and others on email programs would severely limit the ability of these nogoods to do their work. Microsoft is part of the blame here. I still have a friend who's HP computer at home is buzzing with activity from a Bot (3 kids in the family), sometimes taking 70-80% of his CPU cycles. He knows he is infected. Why won't he reinstall the OS? He doesn't know how, and figures he would be in for days of work, and if he can't do it, he will just have to fork out for a new desktop. Intertia, fear, loathing, and no fear of retribution for running a bot compromised CPU are behind his activities. All the same things ICANN, Microsoft, ISPs, and others seem to have in abundance. Sheesh.
  • Whew! (Score:2, Funny)

    by andreMA (643885)
    What a relief... it's pharmaceuticals, so I can go on buying my marijuana, cocaine, heroin and LSD over the interwebs. I'd hate to support hackers.
  • by dbcad7 (771464) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @03:02PM (#23752701)
    So if I am to believe this article.. Iron Port, a division of Cisco that provides anti virus and malware software .. took it upon themselves to order drugs online, and then paid to have them tested to determine that these drugs had the wrong dosages and were placebos.

    Come on.. what kind of software security company does this ?? ... perhaps one being paid off by pharmaceutical companies to do exactly that.. highly suspect.

    • Come on.. what kind of software security company does this ??

      Very few which is why IronPort has a better grasp on what is really going on than a lot of others. In order for the anti-malware industry to be effective it needs to understand the economics behind the malware industry. Spam continues to be effective because people continue to purchase products advertised in spam. Among other things, determining the authenticity of the drugs being sold helps to gauge if pharmaceutical business is all first-time customers or repeat customers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jekler (626699)
      I agree with you that the claims by Iron Port are highly suspect. They determined online pharmacies have a 100% error rate? I know people who have ordered from online pharmacies, chemically tested their drugs, and got exactly what they ordered. Obviously I can only speak of the handful of incidents I'm aware of, so maybe the people I know just got real lucky.

      If online pharmacies screwed people 100% of the time, nobody at all would buy from them, because in a game like that the big money is in repeat orde

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