Threat Intelligence Blog

Rogue online pharmacies offer prescription medications to consumers without requiring a prescription, and often sell medications that are not approved by the FDA. This leaves ample opportunity for dangerous, untested and even counterfeit products to be purchased and abused by consumers.

International Drug Mart is just such an rogue online pharmacy. They will sell a large number of prescription drugs to anyone with a credit card. LegitScript, an online pharmacy verification service used by Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, has confirmed that InternationalDrugMart.com is a rogue online pharmacy due to unlawful, unsafe, or deceptive practices.

In mid-May Cyveillance wrote that International Drug Mart had employed the services of noted certificate authority Thawte, which is based in South Africa. International Drug Mart did so to give the impression that it is a reputable business and that it cares about its customers’ wellbeing. However this is a ruse and does not change the fact that dependence-forming painkillers, powerful anticancer medications and other drugs are available from International Drug Mart to anyone with a credit card.

Shortly after our publication of this information, Thawte canceled its services to International Drug Mart. Cyveillance commends Thawte for doing the right thing and withdrawing support to a business that clearly endangers the health of consumers.

Thawte’s responsible behavior was promptly mirrored by two other peers in the SSL certificate industry:

  • After being denied by Thawte, International Drug Mart procured an SSL certificate from a certificate authority in the United Kingdom. Upon being informed of the nature of International Drug Mart’s business, the British certificate authority immediately canceled its service to International Drug Mart.
  • After being denied by the British certificate authority, International Drug Mart procured an SSL certificate from a certificate authority in Romania. Upon being informed of the nature of International Drug Mart’s business, the Romanian certificate authority immediately canceled its service to International Drug Mart.

Now International Drug Mart has gone to Secure Trust, also known as Trustwave for its SSL certificate. (It should be noted that for quite some time, International Drug Mart has also used Trustwave’s Trusted Commerce program as well). Trustwave is based in the United States.

Cyveillance has reached out to Trustwave on multiple occasions in recent weeks. On June 22 Cyveillance received an email from a Trustwave vice president who wrote, “We have reviewed our validation of this site and it does meet all criteria to demonstrate organization control of the web domain and therefore we will not revoke the certificate at this time.”

By the logic offered in Trustwave’s response, anything on the internet, no matter what the content, is fair game for Trustwave’s services as long as the site meets certain technical requirements.

Just this week, Vice President Joe Biden offered (emphasis ours):

I applaud Google, Yahoo and Bing for the steps they’ve taken in recent weeks to stop selling advertising to illegal Internet pharmacies. But — but — we need to go further. It’s time for others to step up to, it’s time to stop supporting ads for drugs sold illegally over the Internet — and for a simple reason: for the public health of American — of our population.

The same goes for companies who support illegal Internet pharmacies in ways other than advertising. When we look at International Drug Mart, we see a site that is in clear violation of federal law and has serious potential for physical harm. We are disappointed that Trustwave, unlike its peers, does not have a problem doing business with such an organization.

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