Many times I’ve been asked “Why would someone want to break into my little site?”. The answer is – to install malware and infect others.
Last September Wordfence published a series of three blog posts exposing a hacker who had purchased a number of WordPress plugins as part of an elaborate supply chain attack. This ownership enabled him to inject SEO spam into hundreds of thousands of websites, boosting search engine rankings for various illicit online businesses.
The first post revealed a back door into the Display Widgets plugin
The second post had discovered the name, Mason Soiza, the man behind the plugin spam
The third post summed up a four and a half year campaign and exposed Mason Soiza as using 9 WordPress plugins to serve SEO spam on victim websites.
Mason Soiza and his Online Pharmacy
The Times reports that UK Meds, a leading online pharmacy selling opioids to private patients and backed by celebrities, is under investigation by the regulator. UK Meds is owned by Mason Soiza, a 24-year-old spammer who once registered an escort website, and his father, Joe.
Despite concerns over the site’s prescribing methods, the business has proved so profitable that it has allowed Mr Soiza to buy a £215,000 gold Lamborghini and a £100,000 watch, while his father owns a £160,000 Aston Martin. The website sells a range of medications including highly addictive opioids and anti-insomnia drugs such as codeine and zopiclone.
Yoiu can read about this Soiza’s dangerous ‘business’ Dangerous prescription drugs sold to UK patients and addicts
This week the BBC Panorama series covered the topic of online pharmacies in the UK. Mason Soiza’s site UK Meds is among the four online pharmacy sites profiled.
In the episode, five volunteers order prescriptions, most of which could prove fatal for them. Three of them ordered opioid-based painkillers, one diet pills and another antibiotics. All five were able to successfully place their orders online by answering online questions dishonestly and receive the medications. In the most touching part of the episode, a mother whose son died as the result of a drug overdose is interviewed. Dependent on the drugs, he was able to buy them online for two years after his doctor had cut him off.
They also go undercover to talk to the owner of EuroRX, who explains how online pharmacies can leverage doctors in Romania to circumvent prescription requirements.
The face behind the Spam
Everyone is happy to see both British newspapers and BBC take this story further. What they uncovered serves as an important reminder that the people behind the attacks on our websites are generally old-fashioned evil.
It might just be a website to you, but to a criminal it’s an important resource they can use to further their agenda. Unfortunately, that agenda sometimes includes potentially deadly activities.
We can all do our part to help keep the community safe by keeping our sites secure and out of the hands of criminal actors.