You’ve seen the ads in your email or online: Celebrities supposedly hawking miracle weight loss cures or galaxy brain supplements. They’re at this point endemic to the web, as deeply ingrained as hashtags and puppies.
But even though plenty of people fall for them, no one ever really does anything about it. Of all the security threats online, spam ranks pretty low on the priority list.
Which is why it’s surprising, and welcome, that GoDaddy and security firm Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 have taken down 15,000 subdomains dedicated to selling those phony pharmaceuticals under false pretenses.
The scam, which sold products like weight loss pills, used breached websites to add legitimacy to its sales and involved using fake celebrity endorsements.
Jeff White, the researcher at Unit 42, started researching the network of sites more than 2 years ago when he noticed spam messages that looked visually similar and used similar language.
The products were sold on commission as part of an affiliate marketing program and used low initial pricing and tiny print to get people signed up for costly subscriptions.