In the wake of LegitScript’s recent report on the company, Internet.bs is scrambling to cover its tracks.
The report estimated that Internet.bs is the Registrar for 33% to 44% of all non-spam rogue online pharmacy domain names, and showed how Internet.bs was willing to help us, even after being informed that they would be used for counterfeit drug sales and the sale of prescription drugs without a prescription.
First, the easy stuff. Three days before we formally issued the report, well-respected cybercrime blogger Brian Krebs contacted Internet.bs to interview them and informed about the impending report, which is when the company learned about it. Internet.bs –– presumably panicked –– suspended the exact same domain names we used in our undercover research. We expected that, of course. Laughably, Internet.bs’ now claims that they suspended the domain names after “two months of intensive investigations” into the domain names and concluding that they were “illegal pharma domains” –– despite months of agreeing to help undercover researchers sell falsified medicines and drugs without a prescription.
Of course, all that’s going on here is that the company panicked and suspended the 176 domain names we used to conduct the undercover research, but it hasn’t suspended any of the thousands of real rogue online pharmacies using its platform. (Indeed, Internet.bs’ first response to the report in a phone conversation with Krebs was that they “don’t care” about FDA regulators and “have to support their clients.”) If Internet.bs wants to begin suspending rogue online pharmacy domain names, great; why not start with the thousands it sponsors?
Amusingly, the company also stated that the domain names were registered by “ill spirited individuals or corporations for the sole purpose of tarnishing Internet.bs Corp. excellent reputation by attempting to sell controlled and/or prescription only drugs from the USA to the USA.” Two problems with this statement. First, is that “excellent reputation” the same one that spam-fighter SpamHaus refers to as Internet.bs being a “Registrar Supporting Spammers“? Second, we explicitly told Mr Rinaudo and his staff that we were selling unapproved drugs into the US and EU from illicit sources outside of those countries, not US to US. (Of course, none of our websites actually sold anything.) As illustrated in his comments, Mr. Rinaudo’s position appears to be that as long as you ship counterfeit drugs or drugs without a prescription into a country from outside of its borders, you can do whatever you want.
Furthermore, Krebs’ discussion with Mr. Rinaudo is revealing –– and underscores not just Internet.bs’ cybercrime-friendly position, but the company’s CEO’s fundamental misunderstanding of drug safety laws and regulations.
In his conversation with Krebs, Mr Rinaudo states that “We don’t care about FDA regulators, pharmacy regulators, food regulators or whoever. We have to organize our business to support our clients, including pharmacies and those subject to unjustified pressure.”
Mr Rinaudo fails to understand that online pharmacies have to comply with the laws where they operate, which means where they sell drugs to –– not merely where they claim to operate from. Consider classic rogue online pharmacy noprescriptiondrugs.biz, anonymously registered with Internet.bs: the website is an “affiliate” of criminal network MedStore.biz, selling prescription drugs without a valid prescription that are not approved for sale in the countries where they are shipped to and operating without licenses in those jurisdictions. We challenge Internet.bs to suspend this domain name, or produce proof of pharmacy licenses in the jurisdictions where it ships prescription drugs to (which don’t exist; even if they did, it wouldn’t obviate the fact that the website sells unapproved drugs without a valid prescription).
Stay tuned for further developments as Internet.bs continues to try and cover its tracks, only creating more footprints in the process.