Not to be confused with the legitimate Pharmacy Express (http://pharmacyexpress.com and http://pharmacyexpress.co.nz) now renamed http://topbrandsforless.com based in New Zealand,) Pharmacy Express (hereafter referred to in this document as PE) is a very large and sophisticated spamming operation believed to be operated by the Russian criminal spammer Leo Kuvayev, and several of his colleagues and affiliates. These sites have been spamvertised relentlessly to several million email addresses since at least 2004, possibly even longer. Mr. Kuvayev is wanted for several international charges which he has never answered for, including money laundering, child porn and of course illegal spamming. This spam operation has numerous ties to several large-scale Windows viruses and Trojan infections dating back numerous years. The botnets alleged to be behind this operation handle everything from domain registration to zombie infection to probably website hosting and "order" processing. Nobody has ever claimed to have received any quality assured medications upon ordering, so this series of websites is actually considered a credit card fraud operation very similar to Alex Polyakov's My Canadian Pharmacy.
As is the case with My Canadian Pharmacy, numerous pharmacy oversight organizations have fielded several thousand complaints per year regarding this illegal operation. Together with numerous law enforcement agencies they continue to investigate as much as possible regarding the spamming, website setup, DNS setup and alleged order processing of this spam gang. This investigation is ongoing.
PE sites stopped being spammed during the middle portion of 2007, but resurfaced with a completely new design in Feb. 2008. In November 2009, a third iteration was introduced, with a new skin. The spam rate increased alarmingly in September 2010.
Since end November 2010, there have been millions of spams containing links to the Pharmacy Express fraud pharmacy. The criminal nature of the fraud and proof of its false pretenses are clearly documented here.
This operation used the "redirector" approach. The spammed link had a long, padded format, with extra words in it. Common words that were always present as a "fingerprint" were pfizer and viagra. For example
These links in turn redirected to a "target" domain, to avoid the spammed links getting blacklisted as is common today. The spammer strategy was to hide the actual location of the pharmacy fraud web sites.
Since anti-spam operations will also report the hosting IP address on which illegal web sites are running, this operation took measures to "bullet-proof" the IPs as well. The target web sites ran on a "fast-flux" or rapidly changing range of host locations. These were a botnet of machines that had been compromised and were running a "reverse proxy" program. The reverse proxy program was a small front-end program that tunnelled all requests for web pages to hidden back-end servers, providing another level of bullet-proofing.
Anti-spam measures can involve
- reporting and getting the spammed redirectors suspended (there are over 2500, and they add more daily)
- reporting and getting the target site suspended (there are hundreds, and they change daily)
- reporting and having the hosting IPs cleaned (botnet counts are in the millions)
- locating, arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators of the Pharmacy Express fraud
Looking at that that list, the last one is the only effective solution.
The incidence of this scam increased remarkably in August/September 2010. Domain names followed a recognizable pattern, with domains registered in Russia, and widely spammed. The domains, however, redirected to target sites in order to avoid being detected and blacklisted in spam traps.
Example - almedicshop.ru would redirect to fildrugs.com/medic/index.php
Typical name for redirectors registered at REGRU-REG-RIPN were
The target site was Domain Name: FILDRUGS.COM, Registrar: POWER BRAND SOLUTIONS LLC
The November 2009 version sparked a new wave of spamming on Chinese .cn registered domains, embedding an iframe for the site justpfizershop.com. Sample redirection sites were jppyanpx.cn jwmubjve.cn xkftadba.cn cndrfvxq.cn svtjyblz.cn itvotozy.cn owjlarwg.cn nfetwode.cn slutluvf.cn
The 2008/2009 version of PE sites started to be spammed in late-February of 2008 and as mentioned above they feature a totally different design.
2008 spam runs relied on Yahoo search redirections to penetrate spam whitelists and avoid blacklists.
Spamming in 2007 for domains like lodrx.com, tedrx.com and similar, targeted Google's Gmail customers. Most were trapped by Gmail's spam detection and diverted to the spam folder.
You may follow a discussion on PE at the Fight Back forum.
PE is yet another illegal pharmacy website operation which claims to offer discounted pharmaceuticals to unsuspecting consumers. As with numerous other pharmacy spam operations, nearly every single claim on their website is 100% false. Their sites are not secure, you might not be sent anything after ordering on these sites, and among other things your credit card and possibly your identity may be stolen by these cyber-criminals.
Sample of a PE Spam e-mailEdit
Subject: Re: PHxyjARMA
Hi, Vniagra 3, 35 Vnalium 1, 25 Cnialis 3, 75 Anmbien 2, 90 http://agnosti.22rx,com Important: Replace "," with "." in the above link -- Cedric stared at him. Harry saw some of the panic hed been feeling since Saturday night flickering in Cedrics gray eyes. Are you sure? Cedric said in a hushed voice.
Hi, Economize 50% on Vaiagra Vaulium Ciualis http://www.tetrx-com Replace "-" with "." in the above link. Thats not the point! raged Mr. Weasley. You wait until I tell your mother Tell me what? said a voice behind them.
Description of OperationsEdit
The PE website is a typical pharmaceutical e-commerce site. They claim to offer generic versions of several prescription drugs including Viagra and Cialis. (As stated elsewhere, neither of those drugs have a generic version since as of this writing they are still protected by international patents.)
In many ways this site is similar to the My Canadian Pharmacy family of sites in terms of products offered and pricing, so the reader is directed to read that entry for further basic details regarding the basics of the pharmaceuticals, ordering process, and claims. Most are either completely identical or very slightly different.
As with My Canadian Pharmacy and numerous other illegal / fake pharmacy operations, nearly every single claim on the site is completely false. Their "How To Order" page outlines this series of steps and makes the same claim as MCP sites that "All orders are received via a secure server, to ensure that your sensitive information is kept private and to guarantee you peace of mind."
As we will discover below: this is 100% false.
Operator IdentificationEditBadCow and the pharma affiliate program Mailien.
In 2009 it was reported that Kuvayev was in prison awaiting trial on a charge of child molestation - http://www.spamhaus.org/rokso/evidence.lasso?rokso_id=ROK9179
PE has long been linked to the renowned criminal spamming gang known as Yambo Financials, which has ties to several criminal activities including child pornography and credit card fraud. Kuvayev also has ties to a group known as the "Pavka / Artofit" spam gang (Spamhaus ROKSO Link) who have further ties to all manner of illegal activity involving spam, viruses, Trojans, botnets, the creation and distribution of child and bestiality pornography, and of course money laundering and numerous other types of financial fraud.
In August 2010, an anonymous blogger at lj.rossia.org/users/clonopay/ alleged that this Leo Kuvayev is the same Leonid Aleksandorovich Kuvayev (Леонида Александровича Куваева) jailed in Moscow on 50 counts of raping children from an orphanage. Independent reporter Brian Krebs, formerly a technology columnist for the Washington Post, confirmed numerous details. See also 2011 updates - the Sophos report and an article in the Moscow News, where Kuvayev has partly admitted to the charges of molesting orphan children.
The claims made on the PE sites are virtually identical to those made on most MCP websites, so it is recommended that the reader visit that entry for further details. It lists the same "supporters" (formerly including the appearance of the ubiquitous Better Business Bureau icon) and makes the same claims of security. All patently false.
The web site claims to have a pharmacy license issued by the non-existent "New Zealand Board of Pharmacy". As with Canadian Pharmacy the fake pharmacy license quotes an address at
3 Akoranga Drive, Northcote. Auckland, New Zealand.
This address does exist, and it was until 2016 an outlet for a legitimate New Zealand online pharmacy, but it is not PE. The actual New Zealand Pharmacy Direct shop as it was at Akoranga Drive is shown in the picture. It is safe to conclude that PE has decided to use a real address, where a real pharmacy was once located, to try to pass themselves off as legitimate.
|The license that can be viewed from the false PE site has obvious errors.
The fake license is shown in the pictures.
Website Structure And Domain NamesEdit
They similarly use public Unix servers to host their websites and images, as well as their DNS servers.
One additional item that greatly separates this spam operation is its sophisticated use of extremely large botnets.
In November, 2006, the security company "F-Secure" posted in their security blog about a recent discovery made while investigating the recent bout of "Warezov" botnet infections. (F-Secure Blog Entry) They noted that the infection Trojan for the Warezov virus was attempting to connect to a specific unpronounceable domain name:
Once the downloader is executed on a computer, it connects to a download URL. A typical URL would be, for example: www6.vedasetionkderun.com/819/nt.exe or yuhadefunjinsa.com/chr/grw/lt.exe
They made a direct connection between the virus distribution URL, the spamvertised URLs, and the website URLs for several PE websites.
This is significant because literally every single PE domain at the time looked like that style of URL:
http://www.waseruijingunhdefunkas.com/ http://www.keruijingendasunjasn.com/ http://www.qeuitiondekinjastunde.com/ http://www.wadefuntionkdeunhasbeitun.com/ etc...
This had been the case with their domain names for close to three years, indicating a well-entrenched pattern of Windows virus infections, tied to automated domain registrations for PE specifically. Clearly their domain names are automatically named via some automated algorithm using word syllables in random sequence. On any given day, up to 100 such domains were being registered with multiple domain registrars via automated means. They all followed that structure.
Recent Domains and sponsoring registrarsEdit
Updated April 2018
beautylife.su bestrxevents.su grandsupply.su hotdirectonline.su lightaward.su myshopmount.su sitceservice.su webunhealth.su
fastsale24x7.com (suspended) liveshop24x7.com (suspended)
phrmexpress.com (transferred out)
lifemarket24x7.com (suspended masterlife.name (suspended) topwebcheap.xyz (suspended)
globalmedsmarket.su (suspended) kippieharlibari.su (suspended)
saleportal.su targetsalepro.su (suspended) 1trust-express.com (suspended) 4rxshop.su (suspended) bestofferyou.su (suspended) bestsalepro.su (suspended) buysupply.su (suspended) cheap-pharmacy.net (suspended) claimlife.su (suspended) contentsservice.su (suspended) deliverylife24x7.com (suspended) dingrthet.su (suspended) directsaleinfo.su (suspended) lifehelp24x7.com (suspended) lingptont.su (suspended) mywebsale.su (suspended) pehemolx.ru (suspended) pharmacie-francaise.net rx-life24.com (suspended) rx-store24x7.com (suspended) targetplus.su (suspended) targetwebinfo.name (suspended) toolsheckligh.su (suspended) topwebclub.su (suspended) topwebplus.su (suspended) webgivehot.su (suspended) websaleclub.su (suspended) webtrustclub.su (suspended) xdtransfer.su (suspended)
topwomenhealth24.com (suspended) webeasysale.su (suspended) best-health24x7.com (suspended) best-sale24x7.su (suspended) bestmarkettop.su (suspended) bestweblife.xyz (suspended) direct-trafic.com (suspended) irondiscount.su (suspended) lightbrand.su (suspended) lightwebhelp.su (suspended) rxpharmacy-online24.com (suspended) sweetcouple.su (suspended) topinfotrust.su (suspended) webfortrust.su (suspended) webservicefirst.su (suspended) worldsrecharts.com (suspended)
TUCOWS DOMAINS INC.Edit
life-order.be (suspended) safepharmstore.com (suspended)
Hijacked web sitesEdit
These samples were spammed in mid October
Each of these represented a legitimate web site which had been hijacked. An additional html file had been inserted in the server root directory containing code that linked to PE site medicvisd.ru which in turn redirecteds to medicksma.com
Each spaces.live.com URL spammed provided a web page on Microsoft's abused service that redirected to one of a range of spam brands. Each brand represented an illegal web site that indulged in fraud and misrepresentation. It is strongly recommended that visitors do not provide their identity and credit card details on any of these sites. They are run by criminals who use credit cards to order domain names for spamming, or to sell stolen identities within their own "carding" community. PE is one of several brands targeted.
As at March 21, 2008, Storm Trojan infected machines were found to be redirecting to four different fake pharmacy sites using the format http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/anything/
For PE, the redirection sites detected were daysidehomes.com flipsidesite.com thestarside.com sideeventsonline.com
How to report this spamEdit
The Complainterator is configured to request removal of these fraudulent sites. Add a link to this page as evidence.
The legitimate Pharmacy ExpressEdit
|Pharmacy Express, headquartered in New Zealand, which is a division of Pharmacy Direct (http://pharmacydirect.co.nz) is a legitimate pharmacy. PE, the subject of this evidence, is trying to pose as part of the New Zealand Pharmacy Express.
The trademark notice shown on the right establishes that the name "Pharmacy Express" is a registered trademark. It is safe to conclude that the illegitimate PE is infringing on this registered trademark.
Legitimate owner's commentsEdit
When contacted for his views of the fake PE operation, the legal owner of the Pharmacy Express trademark in New Zealand stated:
I am the sole director of PHEX LTD which is owned by my family interests including my parents. Phex Ltd trades as Pharmacy Express and Top Brands for Less (both .com and .co.nz)
“Pharmacy Express” and “Top Brands for Less” is a legitimate pharmacy operating as a trading division of Pharmacy Direct North Shore Limited and compliant with NZ law for the operation of a pharmacy.
PHEX LIMITED is the owner of the registered trademarks for Pharmacy Express 314935 and 314936 in classes 4 / 5 and 4 / 35.
The actions of Leo Kuvayev have had a tremendously negative impact on the real and legitimate Pharmacy Express and destroyed our brand value.
The reality is, Pharmacy Express has been operating online since 1997 when it was one of the first pharmacies to go online in NZ (indeed one of the earliest e-commerce sites) and in the last 13 years has served hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers.
We are deeply troubled by the apparently scant regard for our business shown by this individual and completely disillusioned by the lack of teeth from the authorities to deal with this type of fraud and criminal activity.
Pharmacy Express & Top Brands for Less
Shop 36, Fox outlet centre, 3 Akoranga Drive, Northcote, Auckland
www.pharmacyexpress.co.nz | www.pharmacyexpress.com | www.topbrandsforless.co.nz | www.topbrandsforless.com
[NOTE: The genuine New Aealand Pharmacy Express outlet vacated that address in Akoranga Drive in 2016.]
Refer to the captured screen image. In 2011, spammer affiliates who registered with the Mailien spamming program were presented with pharmacy operations to select from. These included
In 2007: The same name servers were used to resolve both PE and Your Online Pharmacy sites. For example
These were used to resolve access to
- Your Online Pharmacy
Sharing the same IP Address