The Pope Makes Shocking Admission… He takes pills for what??

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Spammers around the globe continue to get creative with their stories in order to entice attention.

There is a recent spam outbreak that claims Pope Francis has made a “shocking admission” about taking ‘Neuroflexyn,’ a new drug that purportedly enhances his brain power. According to the email, the benefits of this drug are “sinful.”

These spam and social engineering tactics are not new; attackers will use whatever language or celebrity they can in order to entice users to click on a link or download a file. What makes this particularly interesting is that it deviates from the well-known pharmacy spam which has been seen for years promoting male enhancement. The drug in question is a ‘nootropic,’ or ‘Smart Drug.’ Nootropics promise cognitive enhancement such as improved memory and intelligence. While nootropics are not quite mainstream yet, they are moving in that direction, with young people showing the most interest in the product. The most rapid growth in use of nootropics seems to be concentrated on college campuses.

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Once a user clicks in these emails, they are directed to a page that discusses the benefits of taking a supplement that increases brain power and allows the user to click a button to receive a “discounted sample.”

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Then, readers are directed to fill out a questionnaire requesting personal information like their address and phone number. Once their personal details are entered, the readers are asked for payment information.

While our research shows that the seller of Neuroflexyn may be a legitimate business, there are some things here that give us pause:

  • The privacy policy of the Neuroflexyn site discloses that the company sells consumer information to third parties, and that it builds profiles of consumers using public information databases.
  • This particular email reeks of deceit. The use of the Pope (or any celebrity) as well as the “confess your sins” link at the bottom of the email demonstrate that the email is relying on trickery rather than product credibility.
  • This appears to have been sent by an affiliate of Nueroflexun. In other words, Neuroflexyn may be allowing third-parties to send traffic to the purchase page in exchange for a commission. If this email is any indication, there is very little quality control over the emails that may be sent by these affiliates. In that case, we can expect to see many more versions of the Neuroflexyn spam. Other versions may include links to malicious software, or sites that serve drive-by download.
  • If the Neuroflexyn purchase site is compromised or not legitimate, then the consumer’s payment and other information will be compromised. At this point, the user may fall victim of spamming, identity theft, and other attacks.

We have had tens of thousands of these emails detected by Barracuda Central.

We always recommend purchasing products from reputable sources that do not engage in the practice of hiring spammers or through the purchase of email addresses to perform marketing and advertising.

Customers using the Barracuda Spam Firewall or Barracuda Email Security Service are protected from these emails.

 

 

 

 

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