Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/06/spamit_shuts_up_shop/

Penis pill spam shrinks

Spamit! Affiliate shuts up shop

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 6th October 2010 09:24 GMT

Penis pill spam dramatically shrunk over the weekend after a notorious spam affiliate brought down the shutters on its own operation.

Spamit, a mainstay of the so-called Canadian Pharmacy business, announced its intention to shut up shop last week, saying that increased attention on its business had made it impossible to carry on (at least in its present form).

Perhaps surprisingly the closure happened as promised, with Cisco and several other sources reporting a "significant decrease" in global spam volumes as a result.

Few security experts expect the respite from junk mail to last for long, much less cause the wider collapse of the Canadian Pharmacy business. For one thing the market for the sale of prescription drugs, such as Viagra, without a prescription is simply too lucrative to fold anytime soon.

Affiliate programs act as a cut-out for spammers, performing functions such as designing website templates, operating back-end order fulfillment servers and processing credit card payments, as well as the shipping and tracking the physical goods. They pay a commission to spammers for orders received.

Junk mailers in general use these services because any websites they established would be more quickly subject to takedown orders. Besides this, spammers have their jobs cut out maintaining botnets and figuring out ways to evade spam filters to worry about e-commerce processing.

Spamit was different from other operations because it also ran its own highly extensive spamming operation using the infamous Storm botnet.

Firms such as Spamit and bulker.biz are collectively referred to as Canadian Pharmacy operations because the websites customers use are supposedly located in Canada. Actual order fulfillment can come from countries such as India and China, among others. Often the goods delivered to consumers of these services are placebos or adulterated with contaminates that pose a risk to users' health.

A more detailed explanation of the Canadian Pharmacy business can be found in our earlier story here.

The impending closure of Spamit was first reported by security blogger Brian Krebs last week. ®