Semalt: What Is Viagra Spam?

Igor Gamanenko, the Semalt Customer Success Manager, says that there is a particular group of Russian hackers who have developed a botnet generating referral spam. This spam attack involves sending tonnes of email that offer to buy such products as Viagra or male organ enlargement medications. This spam attack managed to cover up about a third of the world's spam emails. The attackers behind this scheme, resort to both legal and illegal ways to earn money. First of all, these were fake calls requiring people to purchase scam sites. Secondly, these spammers shipped counterfeit drugs originating from India or Russia to their unsuspecting victims. To cut a long story short, sent emails to millions of recipients, hoping to make hundreds if not thousands of sales.

As these criminals were carrying out these crimes, they ran malware and viruses on their victim's computer. A hacked machine didn't function properly and followed the attacker commands only. In worth noting that the victims were mainly Americans. The first command of the attacker was to collect email addresses and make a list of valid recipients. The entire scheme was executed in the manner of a botnet attack. Following extensive investigations, some of the people behind this attack were brought to custody. However, in my opinion, the Viagra-spam was not stopped, and we can expect more hacker attacks in future.

How spam works

According to the study from the University of California, many banks and suppliers facilitate the spreading of some of these Viagra spam emails. That means that some of the parties behind the online pharma projects are interested in driving sales of these pharmaceutical products.

During the study, the researchers and journalist have concluded that spammers use the following methods to implement their malicious plan:

1. Advertising

Just like conventional digital marketing methods, attackers use advertising as a method to promote a product online. Typically, these attackers used emails as the preferred way of reaching potential buyers by spamming blogs, social media, search engine optimization, etc. Experts noted that controlling website users by IP address monitoring can make massive progress and help users to stay away from these attacks. Regrettably, however, it is estimated that 70% of all global emails are still spam.

2. Click support

Attackers use this method to redirect users to their website by placing malicious or phishing links on their emails. They link to the online drug stores, which accept and process the customer orders. Typically, this part is executed by the independent entities which have nothing in common with the spam senders and botnet masters. In most cases, the attackers work as affiliates of these websites, where they receive from 30 to 50 % of the total sales amount.