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Network security compromised by exposure to fake online pharmacys.

Posted by Geraldine Hunt on Tue, Nov 22nd, 2011

Online shopping is going from strength to strength, the popularity of online shopping is a truly global phenomenon.  Traditional high street vendors have gradually found their place online and most are seeing this channel is proving very fruitful indeed. Alongside legitimate vendors  there are also a large proportion of fake shops on-line as well as real shops selling fake goods.

With the boom in blog websites, forums and most significantly social networking sites this has brought completely new potential for black market operations around the world. There are few of us that work at a PC that haven’t purchased something on-line whether a flight, a bargain on Ebay, a book on Amazon. According to The Nielsen Company, over 85 % of the world’s online population has used the Internet to make a purchase, online shopping is now quite regular and unexceptional. But what wouldn’t you  buy on-line.?

An area that has completely taken over the online shopping space in terms of sheer numbers  is pharmaceuticals. There are hundreds of thousands of legitimate on-line pharmacies in operation selling legal and genuine products. People are pounding the on-line pavements to get to where the bargains are. With medication costs rising and insurance benefits falling it makes sense that people are look for bargains. But is it a good idea to buy medication on line ?

It's clear that on line pharmacies for and by drug companies need to include benefits and risks of drugs offered and need to be regulated by the FDA. According to the FDA “The continually evolving nature of the Internet, including Web 2.0 and social media tools… have raised questions and concerns over how to  apply existing regulations to promotion in these newer media.”

With the advent of Social commerce and social networking sites like Facebook providing shopping areas, it’s time that we thought about how social media and pharma are impacting on security. According to Rich Relevance, Facebook showed the most dramatic growth as a retail traffic driver, up 92% from August 2010 through August 2011.

Alongside legitimate pharma websites and facebook pages are the fake ones that present obvious dangers and some dangers that are not so obvious.   Would you purchase medication from this doctor? 


Cybercrimianals are approaching social commerce with great enthusiasm. The fact that phishers and scammers can easily set up a fake Facebook page makes F-commerce a scary prospect for employers that don’t manage this access in the workplace. To protect your employees a robust web filtering solution will allow you to block specific categories of website like illegal / legal drugs while allowing the flexibility of accessing non harmful sites. Legal drugs (such as Viagra) are often represented to be sold via fake online pharmacy sites which can be identified and blocked, often these manipulated web pages are used for fraudulent purposes, such as obtaining credit card information.

Will your employees be buying drugs on Facebook today or will you blocking this activity in order to keep your network secure ?

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