Rogue online pharmacies try Twitter marketing

After the busts of two big spam operations last year, email inboxes everywhere enjoyed a reprieve from the barrage of missives from rogue online pharmacies. But like much of the rest of us, the rogue operators appear to be moving on to social media.

Researchers at Akron University have found that a search for Viagra picked up one new tweet every 30 seconds, reports Securing Pharma. The spammers apparently use hashtags for unrelated topics as one tactic to reach Twitter users and lure them to their ecommerce sites. In addition, they set up fake accounts and use re-tweets to attract followers, according to the story.

The researchers believe that by using data-mining techniques they can develop a method to filter pharma and other spam on Twitter. The method would be similar to the way email spam is filtered.

A recent trace of email pharma spam found that most originated in Russia, China and Brazil. An online Visa card payment to a rogue pharmacy was processed by an Azerbaijani bank and counterfeit Viagra was sent from Chennai, India.

- see the article
- here's the research paper (PDF)