Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Researchers Link Storm Botnet to Illegal Pharmaceutical Sales

Tim Wilson writes on Dark Reading:

Botnets are hopped up on Viagra.

That's the conclusion of a new report being issued by researchers at IronPort, Cisco Systems's email security unit, who have identified a link between originators of malware, such as the Storm botnet, and illegal pharmaceutical supply chain businesses that recruit the botnets to send spam promoting Viagra and many other prescription drugs on their Websites.

By converting spam into high-value pharmaceutical purchases, IronPort says, these supply chain enterprises allow the "monetization" of spamming botnets, providing an enormous profit motivation for botnet attacks.

"Our previous research revealed an extremely sophisticated supply chain behind the illegal pharmacy products shipped after orders were placed on botnet-spammed Canadian pharmacy Websites. But the relationship between the technology-focused botnet masters and the global supply chain organizations was murky until now," said Patrick Peterson, vice president of technology at IronPort and a Cisco fellow.

"Our research has revealed a smoking gun that shows that Storm and other botnet spam generates commissionable orders, which are then fulfilled by the supply chains, generating revenue in excess of $150 million per year."

More here.


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