Threat Intelligence Blog

Posted May 14, 2010

UPDATE: Thawte canceled its services to in late May. Cyveillance commends Thawte for doing the right thing. More on the story here.

In our recent post covering the Canadian Health & Care Mall, we highlighted the great lengths to which illegal online pharmacies will go to present the illusion of legitimacy. Site like the Canadian Health & Care Mall will present false business locations, and falsified certificates of approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to add credibility, and visitors will believe that they’ll be safe when they order medications from the site.

Another common tactic on sites like Canadian Health & Care Mall is to present fake Verisign Seals. While many consumers don’t know exactly what having a Verisign Seal means, they do know it increases the likelihood that transactions with that site are safe. So while some rogue pharmacies will go the extra step of creating fake Site Seals, unfortunately it appears that this is not always necessary, as some Site Seal issuers do not have a problem working with websites that illegally sell prescription drugs without a prescription.

This week International Drug Mart, a rogue online pharmacy that sells prescription drugs without a prescription from a medical professional, announced that it had “chosen Thawte, since it is a leading global certificate authority providing online security to millions all over the world”.


The Thawte Site Seal can be seen on the rogue online pharmacy site in this image:

international drugmart

…and the following image shows Thawte’s acknowledgement that International Drug Mart uses secure communications.


Unfortunately while the this rogue online pharmacy may appear to protect its customers’ payment information, the fact remains that it unlawfully and dangerously offers prescription medications to anyone with a credit card. It is surprising that a seemingly legitimate company would be knowingly associated with such a business, much less a company in the security industry. By doing so, it undermines their own credibility and diminishes consumer trust and confidence in their own site seal.

Cyveillance has reached out to Thawte for a response on the matter but has not yet received a reply. We welcome their comments.

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