Rogue Online Pharmacies Co-Opt Google Brand


A new pharmaceutical spam campaign misappropriates Google branding to promote a “Google-accredited” online pharmacy portal.

Symantec’s MessageLabs intelligence tracked spam email messages promoting online drug sales with a false claim that Google has hosted and approved the pharmacy sites. The link within the email directs to a spammer’s blog on a popular blogging portal, containing drug spam content and links to the spammers actual site, including a modified Google logo that replaces the center “oo” with an orange pill and a yellow pill, and a subscript “pharmacy” below the final “le.”

In addition, text beneath the logo attempts to draw in potential purchasers with the following text:

“We’ve just launched a pharmaceutical interfaces for Google, as well as several new features that will improve the Google experience for the people buying pills and using pharmaceutical interfaces.” [sic]

“We are really pleased to have worked on a launch that will help people use pharmacy and surgery.”

“We are currently working to make it available to even more users with more language interfaces.”

The final line is a link to the underlying online pharmacy portal hotlinked to the words “Visit Google’s Accredited Pharmacy.” The link contains an image hosted on a Russian site instead of the blogging platform from which customers can view price lists for medications.

A Google spokesperson said, “Google has a track record of fighting similar types of scams, and we also recommend that users carefully review online offers that look too good to be true before entering any of their information: