Zombie Pfizer Computers Spew Viagra Spam
By Ryan Singel 09.06.07 | 2:00 AM
Computers inside pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's network are spamming the internet with e-mails touting the company's flagship erectile-enhancement drug Viagra, along with ads for knockoff Rolexes and shady junk stocks.
But the e-mails are not part of Pfizer's official marketing efforts.
Pfizer's computers appear to have been infected with malware that has transformed them into zombie computers sending spam at the behest of a hacker. Oddly enough, they are spamming the public's inboxes with ads for the company's own product.
"There is a disaster inside this company, and they don't know it," says Rick Wesson, CEO of Support Intelligence -- a small San Francisco-based security company that alerted Wired News to the problem.
The flood of spam adds to Pfizer's recent computer security woes. This summer, the company revealed that it had suffered three breaches of sensitive data, cumulatively affecting more than 50,000 individuals.
In one breach, a Pfizer employee exposed personal information on 17,000 employees after installing peer-to-peer software on a laptop. In another breach, confirmed Tuesday, a former employee downloaded sensitive data, including social security numbers and credit-card information for about 34,000 Pfizer employees.
Full story at Wired.