Thursday, February 5, 2009

Glavmed responds - re: my Open Letter.

Welcome Glavmed affiliates who are linking here directly from the Glavmed site. :)

For a very brief period of time yesterday (Feb. 4th, 2009) the following claims were posted on many pages of the glavmed portal site, and it makes it clear that they are seeing some negative attention as a result of my open letter:

We've received a few links from our partners, containing an open letter. This letter was published at This is far from the last time, when apparently our business rivals try to defame our partnership programme. But this is the first time, when they appeal to The FTC, The FDA and other law organisations.

We, Glavmed, want to make a statement, that all the allegations of this letter are absolutely false and incorrect. They denigrate the honour, dignity and business reputation of our company.

We'd like to answer this open letter item by item:

1.Glavmed don't sell, have never sold and will never sell any pills. Glavmed are CEO partnership programme, which run a network of online-shops. Its main task is accepting of buyers' order und data. We have a few commission contracts with well-known, absolutely licensed drug stores. We transfer this order to them for its execution. Glavmed's task is attracting of new customers and transferring their orders to these drug stores. After receiving the commission from these drug stores we share it with our partners. We don't sell pills. That makes a great difference.

2.Glavmed have clear rules against spam and viral spreaders. We've never accepted such traffic. All such accounts have been instantly banned or cancelled. It's very easy to check. Just register and try to spread spam!

3.Glavmed are really well-known long existing partnership programme. Unfortunately we have some problems. The schemes and designs of our sites are being constantly copied and stolen. A lot of our dishonest business rivals give their sites to be ours, copying everything - graphic designs, file names and product descriptions.

4.Our rivals allege that our drug stores' products have low quality. This is totally lie and defamation. We can show hundreds of feedbacks, proving high quality of our products. We also have independent test results. They prove that our products are being produced by indinan laboratories and up to claimed quality.

Unfortunately we can foresee the further organized pressure against our partnership programme, because normal business competition can't be provided by them. We really take care of our partners and our customers.

This message was removed sometime between yesterday and today. It is unclear why, although I would guess that they didn't want their own affiliates reading my posting. I and other researchers have also noticed that they are now blocking very specific IP addresses from viewing the Glavmed website.

A couple of obvious corrections need to be made right off the bat:

a) The letter was not written to you, Glavmed representatives. It was written to law and drug enforcement agencies, as well as the media who has been researching this.

b) I am absolutely not a "business rival".

c) I am not the only one who has been researching your organization. My letter is a an account of the known, researched, verifiable facts regarding the scourge of unwanted Canadian Pharmacy websites. If I were trying to defame you, I wouldn't have nearly as much factual evidence in my letter.

So in response, I'll counter their bogus response point by point.

1. Glavmed claims on their front page (and I'm of course not altering their horrendous spelling and grammatical mistakes):

GlavMed is a BEST way to convert your pharmacy traffic into real money. Forget about miserable sums you're getting sending your visitors to PPC pharmacy results.

You're loosing at least half of YOUR money converting traffic like this. GlavMed offers you a possibility to eliminate any agents and sell most popular pharmacy products directly. It means 30-40% revenue share. features & benefits

Note: sell most popular pharmacy products directly. Which is it? Are they selling them or not?

Whether they sell the drugs themselves or not is ultimately irrelevant. They are part of a long chain that gets illegally-produced FAKE and harmful versions of these products into the hands of unwitting members of the public. There is copious amounts of evidence to support this, and they know it.

Glavmed is an affiliate program. They get their affiliates (aka: spammers) to promote (aka: spam) the websites (hosted via rampant viral PC infections) to sell fake drugs to unwitting victim customers. Who do they send that order data to? They don't say. But they know who that is, and they know that they are taking these orders without any consultation with any pharmacist. They also do all of this with absolutely ZERO security or encryption, so you can imagine how they're treating the rest of your personal data.

2. Sure, they state on their website that they don't allow spamming, but as I mentioned: they removed any of the postings which made it clear that very actve spammers are indeed a part of their program. Nowhere do we find ANY postings within their forum about any actual action taken against spammers. Literally everyone with an email address will know that Canadian Pharmacy is THE most spammed property on the Internet today, and has been for three years and counting. If they don't allow spammers, why is it still the most commonly found spam in the world today? You can have rules all you like. If you're not enforcing them: what does it matter?

As an aside, I and many other individuals have been complaining to Glavmed under numerous identities starting in May of 2008. I have personally sent, using numerous of my accounts, at least 25 very detailed complaints regarding spam messages I have received between May 2008 and January 2009. Guess how many responses I've gotten? Guess how much "action" I've seen on behalf of Glavmed, or anyone else claiming to represent this operation? ZERO! Guess where their abuse-reporting pages are on their site? THEY DON'T HAVE ANY!

This claim is utterly false. They take zero action regarding their KNOWN spamming affiliates, and they never will.

3. If Glavmed has been aware all this time that so-called third parties were ripping off their site designs, functionality and everything else: why haven't they drastically changed their entire design, branding, etc., or made ANY public statement regarding any of this? Why did they wait until someone like me exposes the whole setup for the obviously fraudulent operation that it is? This is an outright lie.

4. Again I will link to actual evidence (source), on behalf of a reputable company -- Ironport -- who placed orders from one of these sites, and gave the pills they received to a lab for analysis:

False Drugs Purchased

IronPort researchers followed the trail they uncovered and ordered sample pills from a pharmacy source in India. They then had an independent lab analyze the contents. The pills IronPort ordered contained sugar and some inert filler, Bhandari said.

A second test sampling from another online pharmacy purchase contained high metal content. The substances could be very harmful to unsuspecting consumers, he said.

IronPort-sponsored pharmacological testing revealed that two-thirds of the shipments contained the active ingredient but were not the correct dosage, while the others were placebos. As a result, consumers take a significant risk of ingesting an uncontrolled substance from overseas distributors, according to IronPort.

So in light of this report: I don't believe a single word Glavmed says, and I don't think anyone else should either.

Keep in mind: this is only one such report. There are others.

I notice that they completely ignore any mention of concern over the rampant illegal spamming which continues on behalf of Canadian Pharmacy, nor do they even broach the subject that as recently as October 2008 their site templates still contained bogus "sponsorship logos" on behalf of the Better Business Bureau, Verified By Visa, and Pharma Checker, nor do they mention that they were making very public statements that they knew full well that all of these logos were not being used appropriately.

The Spamtrackers wiki entry for Glavmed contains a screenshot of the Glavmed sites page dating from July 2008 which shows the Canadian Pharmacy layout still featuring the bogus sponsor logos. (source.)

In addition: this howler of a claim:

"We can show hundreds of feedbacks, proving high quality of our products. We also have independent test results. They prove that our products are being produced by indinan laboratories and up to claimed quality."

Their claim that they have all kinds of feedback saying how great they are is meaningless.

Which "indinan laboratories"? Which "independent test results"? On behalf of whom? Published where, exactly?

Of course they will never say.

What about third-party, verified claims and lab tests that your products are genuine? What about third-party reports that your servers actually are secure? If I'm selling you a car and you ask me for verification that the car is in road-ready shape and is safe to drive, I can't just start typing you a recommendation myself. I would need a third party inspector to verify that my claims that this vehicle was safe were in fact true. Glavmed doesn't do this, nor have they ever.

"We really take care of our partners and our customers."

Really? I know for a fact that numerous of your customers would very much beg to differ.

Clearly my letter has hit a nerve. As usual, their response, as with many obvious spam operations, is more concerned with damage to their profits than anything to do with public safety, or the security of your personal data.

Glavmed's claims are theirs alone, verifiable by nobody, and easily countered point by point as being verifiably false.

I stand behind every word of my posting. This is not defamation. Again: I am only one individual, but my posting links to research performed by literally dozens of others, from a very wide variety of technical, medical, security and other backgrounds.

Use your own judgement: Glavmed, and the entire operation they support, are liars and part of a criminal operation. The proof isn't just in my open letter. It's all over the place.

SiL / IKS / concerned citizen

Monday, February 2, 2009

Canadian Pharmacy and Glavmed: An Open Letter To Law Enforcement, The FTC And The FDA

To whom it may concern (and ultimately it concerns all of you.)

I write today to petition your attention towards a large-scale international illegal pharmacy operation known as Glavmed.

Glavmed are the sponsor program promoting the very-widely-spammed property known as "Canadian Pharmacy". (Hereinafter referred to as "CPh".) If you have an email address of any sort, it is very likely that you're at least mildly aware of Canadian Pharmacy. It's the most commonly spammed property on the Internet today, and shows no signs of slowing down whatsoever. CPh has been relentlessly spammed to millions of recipients for the past three years. Here is a screenshot of a currently spammed domain,

Please note that depending on your geographic location, this same domain will appear as "Canadian Pharmacy", "European Pharmacy", and a variety of other variations on that brand name. They do this by using geographic sensing of inbound IP addresses to the site. The overall layout and functionality remains the same.

The Websites

On the surface this appears to be a fairly innocuous website selling what appear to be legitimate pharmaceutical products. However a little further examination proves that this is a site selling fake, knock-off, imitation versions of some fairly widely-sold pharmaceutical products such as Viagra and Cialis. The clue that this is not legitimate is that they also sell the following products:

  • Viagra Professional

  • Cialis Professional

  • Viagra Super Active

  • Cialis Super Active

  • Viagra Soft Tabs

  • Cialis Soft Tabs

  • VPXL

  • Levitra Professional

  • Levitra Super Active

None of these products have ever been produced by the actual originators of the original Viagra or Cialis. These products have only been sold from shady, illegitimate online pharmacies.

Add to this that they have creatively spelled the names of one or more dangerously addictive and harmful products such as "Phentrimine", and offer another bogus version of this same product named "Herbal Phentermine", and it becomes clear that this is a company which is distributing products of dubious origin and manufacture.

All of these products are sold without the need for any prescription, whcih violates several FDA regulations, especially for the sale of controlled substances such as phentermine.

Further (although technically speaking this is less of an issue than the risk to public health and safety): these sites' continued use of the brand name "Viagra" is in violation of the trademark and intellectual property rights of Pfizer, who owns the Viagra name and the patent on its particular medicinal formula. There is no such thing as "generic" Viagra, nor has there ever been. It is not legal to make -- or claim to make -- Viagra while Pfizer still holds the patent. The same is true of Cialis and Levitra.

Sales of these alleged "generic" pharmaceuticals violates the law in most countries around the world. Sale of these products in their legitimate form without consultation with a physician or a registered pharmacist is also illegal, and violates several sections of the FDA act.

Finally: sale of controlled substances - phentermine definitely qualifies, but again: who knows what's actually in the pills this "company" is selling to you? - is also against the law when done so without any registered pharmacist or a valid, authorized prescription.

This organization breaks several international laws, but more importantly it poses a very serious threat to the public's health.

Promotion Via Illegal Spam

The only way that perhaps 70% or more of the world has heard of Canadian Pharmacy is via the unrelenting, large-scale receipt of illegally-sent spam email messages. By "illegally-sent", I refer specifically to the fact that they (or someone or some group working on their behalf) send these emails using very large scale "botnets" (definition) comprising several thousand of exploited public computers. Over the past three years, no fewer than six (6) IT security organizations have performed research on a variety of these botnets, most notably the Storm botnet, and discovered that one of the primary uses of this botnet was to send spam email messages promoting these CPh websites.

I myself have written on this blog and on numerous spam- and cybercrime-related forums regarding Canadian Pharmacy, and I've specifically been researching their operations starting in mid-2006. (previous posting) However I am far from the only individual researching this organization.

Finnish Security Company "F-Secure" posted research tying spam messages promoting spamvertised websites for CPh on November 11th, 2006. (source) In this research they discovered that a PC exploit then known as "Warezov" was capable of sending spam. That spam contained urls for websites promoting what was then known as "Pharmacy Express." Pharmacy Express turned into Canadian Pharmacy in early 2007. The spam runs promoting these websites would often send tens of millions of messages to addresses around the world. The domain names for the Pharmacy Express sites were virtually identical in naming structure to those used as name servers for other sites which were being used as infection points for the Warezov virus, as well as domains used as name servers for both the warezov infection sites and the CPh websites. More on Warezov and it's functionality later.

Fast-Flux Hosting Via Hijacked Public Computers (Storm Worm)

Focusing again on the abovementioned domain, we can see that some unique hosting solution is being used for the "" domain by running a "dig" command against that domain:

As you can see from this simple check, the website itself is hosted on rotating IP addresses. This is a technique known as "fast flux" hosting (definition), and it's used by these CPh sites to hide their true location. Research has shown that these IP addresses are, invariably, infected household PC's owned by individuals who are unaware that their computer has been taken over to be used in support of these illegally-operating websites.

The IP addresses in this particular example are all located in Beijing, China, hosted at three distinct companies:

China Network Communications Group Corporation
CHINANET hebei province network / China Telecom
Beijing Zhongbangyatong Telecom Technology Co.,Ltd

This is not often the case. Several researchers have discovered some CPh sites using household dsl connections in the US Midwest, cable internet connections in Poland, and numerous other types of always-on cable or dsl connections around the world. All of this is believe to be provided by the Storm worm.

100% False Claims

Canadian Pharmacy has made numerous completely false claims throughout nearly every word they say in every spam message sent, and on every page of their websites. Among these are claims that they offer security when processing credit cards (they do not, and never have, and this is something you can see by investigating any of the domains spammed to promote this operation,) that their products are safe (numerous researchers have found that they either contain no active ingredient, or that they contain only trace amounts of the active ingredient, or that they actually contain harmful elements or materials,) and they often listed contact information which was actually for the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia, who strenuously denied having anything to do with this operation or its continued illegal spamming practices. They also listed icons for the Better Business Bureau, Verified by Visa and an organization known as "Pharma Checker", none of whom actually supported or endorsed any of these sites. (And in all cases, representatives from all three expressed frustration in being able to get this group to remove their icons from their sites.) Only in the past four months have they removed these icons. It is unclear why, although one could surmise that the increased investigations into their operations are to blame.

In fact even the very name of these sites, Canadian Pharmacy, is a lie. They aren't located anywhere near Canada, the products often ship from India, and the domains and name servers are hosted around the world. There isn't any Canadian source for any of these websites.

Further: the contact information used to register websites and nameserver domains routinely feature 100% fake information. This is true for literally every single website registered for the promotion of Canadian Pharmacy.

These websites represent a very serious risk to the public's health, no matter which country the unwitting customers of these malicious websites happen to live in.

But I encourage you to join me in digging deeper into what other illicit activities this series of illegal websites is tied to.

Glavmed's Connection to Storm / Warezov Infections

I mentioned Warezov in an earlier paragraph.

Over the past 2 years, Warezov has come to be known alternately as Storm or Asprox. There are other names for this type of PC infection. It has continued to grow in size, and has continued to be used for all manner of illicit online activity ranging from the aforementioned spamming, through to plainly illegal activity such as performing large-scale Distributed Denial Of Service attacks (aka: DDOS attacks) against any site the botnet operator chooses (source), performing SQL injection attacks (source,) and most importantly for providing hosting and infrastructure for these Canadian Pharmacy websites, including name servers. Storm worm has also occasionally been used in phishing attempts. (source)

As far back as Jan. 31, 2008, tech news stories abounded that law enforcement authorities knew who had created and continued to operate the Storm worm (source), yet nearly a full year later absolutely no action has been taken against them. Further research by a variety of individuals as well as Wired Magazine tied Storm worm to a shadowy criminal organization known as the Russian Business Network, or "RBN". (source)

No less a source than the Washington Post's Brian Krebs has previously posted in great detail about who is behind the Storm Worm, and boldly declared he had connected all the dots in a story dating from January 29th, 2008. (source, with extensive background research.)

Glavmed Affiliate Program

In the past year, after monitoring numerous spam-friendly forums, many of which now no longer exist, I discovered one website which was responsible for acquiring new affiliates to promote the Canadian Pharmacy brand: a site called This is not immediately obvious from just visiting their main website, (Although they do of course mention that the sites being promoted are pharmacy websites.) Their sites page features no mention of the brand "Canadian Pharmacy", only vague descriptions of what the sites sell, and that anyone can join this program. Their sign up form features no section where anyone needs to disclose whether they are a medical professional or a pharmacist at all, or whether they are retaining one for the purposes of fulfilling prescriptions for the pharmaceuticals these sites sell.

So how did I discover the link between Glavmed's affiliate program and Canadian Pharmacy? I joined their affiliate program. I will not disclose the details of my affiliate account other than to say that I have never used it for any promotional purposes on behalf of glavmed or Canadian pharmacy. Once I was approved, I was sent a link to their site templates which made it very clear that this was a very large-scale, highly organized operation, and that they are indeed 100% responsible for Canadian Pharmacy, and therefore responsible for the relentless spamming which occurs on their behalf.

As it turns out, apparently one of their supporters or affiliates posted a very Glavmed-friendly piece on a website known as (source), which alleges to rate the various online pharmacies promoted by Glavmed. They of course make absolutely no mention of the fact that these sites are easily the most prolifically-spammed properties on the Internet today. That entire domain appears to be a very spam-friendly site, and it links to a known base-domain which glavmed sites have been using for payment processing for three years now,

Some interesting additional notes: They have modified several threads in their forums. These threads previously contained postings by several members which made it very clear that not only were Glavmed and their affiliates aware that many of their ranks were involved in large-scale spamming, but that they also knew they were lying about the use of logos such as that of Pharma Checker.

This thread previously had a posting (following posting #4, which is now the final posting in that thread) which stated that there was no valid Pharma Checker account for the Canadian Pharmacy websites. (A valid Pharma Checker is required in order to place a link to any pharmaceutical sites within a Google Adsense campaign, among many others. One affiliate was refused. I feel certain that many others must have been refused as well.) Another thread regarding spamming (source) had several pro-spam postings dating back to late 2007. These were removed sometime between December 2008 and January 2009. That was previously located after posting #3. Clearly someone is removing any expository evidence. (I and many others have archives of this forum however.)

Glavmed / Spamit / Storm / Canadian Pharmacy / RBN

Further, no less an authority than Ironport, a major spam-fighting corporation, made direct connections between Storm worm, Canadian Pharmacy, Glavmed, and their underground affiliate portal (and likely the real smoking gun) known as (source) Ironport also placed several orders to verify what would happen with their bait credit card information, and to see whether they would actually receive anything from the order. They did receive a package containing pills which contained sugar and what was referred to as "inert filler". Another contained "high metal content". This is clearly a very high risk to the public's health.

I and many other researchers and security professionals believe it is time for someone to take decisive action against this operation, which has profited for at least four years now and is only continuing to grow. Research and evidence abounds regarding the connections between Canadian Pharmacy, Glavmed, The Storm Worm and the Russian Business Network. All of these are known by numerous security and law enforcement agencies to be operating in flagrant violation of international law. I and the citizens of my country and those of pretty much every other country are fed up with continual bombardment of these spam messages, promoting websites which lie in every word of their content, which sell fake and harmful products, and which endanger the lives of the general public. We are fed up with the complete lack of action on behalf of anyone in Law Enforcement to go after Glavmed, their affiliates, their site operators, their payment processors, their hosting providers and their domain registrars. The time for action is now, especially with the abundance of available research into this organization and their practices.

Please take this appeal very seriously. I welcome your feedback.

Very sincerely,

SiL / IKS / concerned citizen

Further research into Canadian Pharmacy

Spam Wiki: Canadian Pharmacy

Further research into the Storm Worm

Storm Worm Botnet Cracked Wide Open

Russian Business Network (RBN): Georgia Cyberwarfare - Attribution & Spam Botnets

Full-disclosure: It's time to get serious about Storm Worm / RBN

Slashdot: We Know Who's Behind Storm Worm