Muschamp Rd

Who actually buys stuff from “Pharmacy Express” and “Healthcare Online”?

June 14th, 2011
Can of Spam

I’ve gotten over 10,000 spam messages recently. I don’t know in exactly how many days, but few. The vast, vast, vast majority are the same basic messages sent 1000’s of times with simple subjects like “Hey” or “Hello” and they are from “Pharmacy Express” or “Healthcare Online” or some made up person. They don’t fool my spam filters, but I still have to download them. It sucks downloading 500 messages when you only care about 1 or 2.

These are not sophisticated spammers. They probably don’t pay for all the bandwidth they use. They probably have a botnet. I know some people in my hockeypool have been infected over the years, as all of a sudden everyone in our pool gets overwhelmed with spam. I also know one of my classmates while on exchange at Tsinghua University got infected or hacked or whatever. I got spam from her.

Screen shot of Arabic Spam

That isn’t the case with “Healthcare Online” or “Pharmacy Express”. They are just sending the same crappy email, over and over and over and over.

I managed to stop the trackback spam I was getting with a WordPress plugin, event though I already run multiple spam filters both at the server and client level. I need someone to stop this stuff further on up the road, before it gets in my email to be downloaded queue. Apparently I’m not alone in making these observations. 65% of spam is Pharmacy Spam. Is that in the English language only? I know I get different spam in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. That statistic is probably based on spam targeting a North American or European clientèle. I even got my first Arabic spam the other day. I know it is spam because I can’t read Arabic, no one would legitimately send me an email in Arabic.

All this spam, especially reviewing it and an deleting it, drags MailSmith to a crawl. Someone tweeted today that come Mac OS X Lion everyone will use, we’ll see. I’ve stuck with MailSmith since before OS X was released.

Here is the text of one of these spam messages:

Ones a person gets addicted to low quality cheap painkillers, he is harmed physically & mentally a lot. Usually doctors administer human growth hormone to kids or adults who suffer from HGH deficiencies. Medical studies have shown that children on antidepressants have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts.Don’t stop antidepressants too early. If you do, the chances of re-experiencing depression are increased. Lifestyle choices that contribute to heart disease and vascular problems also raise the risk of ED. If your asthma is under control you are more likely to have a better quality of life and live a full life.

/Mental Health/EpilepsyStop SmokingVitamins/Herbal SupplementsWeight LossAntidepressants/

Someone must buy from these companies, otherwise they would eventually stop sending out spam and go out of business. Who are these idiots? Is male impotency that big of a problem for them that they can’t go see a doctor and instead force us all to get 1000s of spam messages.

I don’t do HTML email so I don’t get the pretty pictures, but here is what some of the spam looks like. Apparently folks like Leo Kuvayev and Alex Polyakov are behind all this pharmacy spam. Apparently Leo Kuvayev went to MIT, looks like ethics wasn’t on the curriculum there. He was “Arrested in Moscow on ‘multiple child molestation charges‘ on September 15, 2009.” so you know he’s an all around nice guy. Yet even in custody his spam empire is going strong.

Alex Polyakov is an alias of a Russian or Ukrainian, but he’s not above a little, or in this case, a huge “botnet and child-porn spam ring”. No known picture of this guy exists and he’s still at large making money off of people’s stupidity and holes in Microsoft’s operating systems. Probably on a yacht somewhere. It’s not all fast cars and fast women for Russian Spammers. But for every one that gets shut down even more seem to pop up as there are tools out there that do most of the work. Here is the list of the world’s top ten spammers.

My webhost seems to have cut off a lot of spam, I had forgotten what a big problem it is, now-a-days in 2019 I’d say I get 20-30 spam a day and I’ve given out the same email address for a long long time. If you have any thoughts on fighting spam you can leave them below. Now I have to fight comment spam as much as email spam.


  • Muskie says:

    I’m not sure why, but something has changed upstream. My mom actually noticed first and she doesn’t use MailSmith or SpamSieve so it isn’t any changes or settings on my MacBook Pro.  I also haven’t changed any settings on my web host but I do know my web host has been doing some upgrading both to the boxes and to their PHP installs as I got informed of those changes and my website seems to function as well as it had before.  Now instead of getting say 500 blatantly obvious spam messages a day, this morning I had 9 spam messages. Some of them are still pharmacy spam, some are still in Japanese courtesy of my former students who have had their accounts hacked or spoofed, but it is possible to look at the headings of 9 messages, but 10,000 spam messages going through those, is extremely time consuming especially when there is only 2 or 3 false positives…

    This was an unexpected Christmas gift.

  • Muskie says:

    About half the spam I get contains the word “pharmacy”, 2699 messages in just the last few days.  There has to be a way to stop these messages other than changing my email address…

  • Muskie says:

    My spam email folder went over 11000 unread messages sometime today.  So once again I’m trying to see if there are any false positives, because if even one inquiry regarding employment were to slip through…

    I had a phone interview with a large software development firm the other day.  I’m worried I didn’t come across well enough.  That my answers weren’t definitive and succinct enough. The interviewer asked for documentation that apparently would be pivotal to me making it to the next round of the interview process.  The good news is there is still hope, the bad news my employability may rest on a Gantt chart I made a year or more ago…  Luckily I make nice Gantt charts, with Merlin before anyone asks.  ;-)

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