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04 Aug 2004

Pfizer sues illegitimate online pharmacies to counter spam epidemic, Sophos comments

Pfizer is taking action against those selling fake Viagra online
Pfizer is taking action against those selling fake Viagra online

Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, has announced it is taking legal action against dozens of illegitimate online pharmacies to block sales of counterfeit drugs and help reduce spam. This action follows Pfizer's own research which discovered that more than a quarter of men wrongly believe the company is the source of Viagra spam. Anti-spam expert Sophos welcomes the pharmaceutical giant's stance in the fight against spammers.

"Viagra spam is big business as buying medication online negates the need for a sometimes embarrassing visit to the doctors. Indeed, if you have an email account, it's likely you've received Viagra spam - so it's no wonder that Pfizer is cheesed off with spammers hijacking its brand to push bogus drugs," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, Sophos. "Pfizer's action may only serve to chip away at the spam mountain, but it's reassuring to computer users when big brands use their weight to slow down the deluge."

The amount of spam email continues to grow despite governments' attempts to deal with the problem through legislation. Sophos is therefore advising businesses and home users to take matters into their own hands.

"More spam is being pumped out than ever before, and internet users who are being hit hard realise that anti-spam legislation is failing them. They can't wait for the law to catch up and apply stiff sentences - they want the spam stopped right now," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "The easiest way to do that is to deploy a sophisticated anti-spam product at your email gateway, and resist the urge to buy spam-marketed products."

More information about Pfizer's legal action can be found on its website.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at