Episode 430: Black Market Pharmacies And The Spam Empire Behind Them : Planet Money On today's show, we open up some of those annoying pharmaceutical spam emails and find out who's clicking to buy herbal viagra? Also, what happens when they do?
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Episode 430: Black Market Pharmacies And The Spam Empire Behind Them

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Episode 430: Black Market Pharmacies And The Spam Empire Behind Them

Episode 430: Black Market Pharmacies And The Spam Empire Behind Them

Episode 430: Black Market Pharmacies And The Spam Empire Behind Them

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/477377662/477697561" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Chances are that at some point in your online life, you've received an email with a subject like "The hottest method to please your beloved one," or "Want to get good health for low prices?"

Maybe you deleted it. Maybe your spam filter caught it. Or maybe you stopped for a second to ask why on earth you're getting so many of those emails. Who is sending them? Does anyone actually click on these links? What happens when they do?

On today's show, we have answers. Yes, people click on those links. Smart, sound-minded people are choosing to buy pharmaceuticals through black market pharmacies that spam them and just about everyone with an inbox. And those sound-minded people are happy to tell you how it worked out for them, right down to the odd packaging that shows up in their mailbox.

We go deep inside the world of email pharmaceutical spam with help from cyber-security reporter Brian Krebs and researcher Stefan Savage. We'll also tell you about the time that two of the biggest players in black market pharmaceuticals got into a major hacking feud—and blew the lid off the online drug trade.

Music: "Let's Do What We Want" and "Don't Lose Yourself." Find us: Twitter/Facebook.