Botnets Use WordPress in New Spam Campaign


Spammers are using an old trick to get their newest spam campaign past blacklists and
spam filters. Experts have detected a new flood of spam messages that include a link to a page on what looks like a legit WordPress site but instead redirects to a spam site hawking a weight loss scam. So far the botnet responsible has sent out hundreds of millions of the messages with no end in sight.

The spammers do it by hacking into a poorly configured WordPress site and creating a page within it that has a redirect script embedded in it. When placed in an email message it looks like a legit link until it’s clicked on and the recipient ends up on a website advertising the Raspberry Ketone Diet (For the record Raspberry Ketone has shown absolutely zero effectiveness in clinical studies). The messages also include a stolen video from the Dr. Oz show, presumably as an attempt to convince the recipient that the diet and email are legit.

Experts say there are at least 250 different registered domains related to this campaign. The spammers are using the WordPress trick because the legit looking URLs it generates fool blacklists and spam filters, meaning their messages get into more inboxes. If your company runs a WordPress site, be sure it is locked down and secure. Disable your FTP login if it’s not needed, or if it is, change the password regularly. It should go without saying that buying products advertised via spam is a very very bad idea.

Written by Sue Walsh


  1. Adrian Lee · December 10, 2012

    Oh, this is quite bothersome for me. I am very new to WordPress, and I don’t have any experience with it before. So you can probably say that my site is as crude as it gets. This news right here then makes me believe that I can be a potential victim (though not indirectly) since these spammers can actually use my own website for all their malicious campaigns. Honestly I want to hire a professional web designer and web developer. I just don’t have the money yet, and I’m not really building an e-commerce site. But since I’m planning to promote my name as a brand, I guess I might as well shell out some more. What do you think?

  2. Lisa S. · December 11, 2012

    The popularity of WordPress makes it a preferred target for hackers. I just imagine how difficult it is for the master of a site with 1,000s of pages to notice that one more page – a malicious one – has appeared. The worst is that no matter how much you secure a site, WordPress or not, you can never be sure it won’t be hacked.

  3. Howard Dwight · December 16, 2012

    I have been a WordPress owner for the last two years. A few months ago, someone tried to access my account since I received a password reset request. Now I’m not sure if what had happened is connected to this. I sure hope it’s not. Anyway, I just pity those who are trying to build their WordPress site because I think they’re some of the most vulnerable. Their defenses aren’t as impressive as those that have been around for a couple of years. Plus, a number of new users are definitely newbies in content management or blogging platform. They may have no idea that this is already happening to them.

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