From Russia with iPhone selling affiliate networks

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With affiliate networks continuing to represent among the few key growth factors of the cybercrime ecosystem, it shouldn’t be surprising that cybercriminals continue introducing new services and goods with questionable quality and sometimes unknown origins on the market, with the idea to entice potential network participants into monetizing the traffic they can deliver through black hat SEO (Search Engine Optimization), malvertising, and spam campaigns.

In this post, I’ll profile a recently launched affiliate network selling iPhones that primarily targets Russian-speaking customers, and emphasizes the traffic acquisition scheme used by one of the network’s participants.

More details:

In my line of work, there’s a saying that “you are where you advertise.

Despite the fact that your TOS (Terms of Service) may explicitly prohibit the use of black hat SEO (search engine optimization), which on the majority of occasions relies on compromised Web shells, next to good old fashioned spamming, coming across multiple advertisements on cybercrime-friendly forums speaks for itself – you’re not endorsing, but tolerating such traffic-boosting practices.

Which is the case for the iPhones selling affiliate network I’m about to profile in this post.

It all starts with a spam campaign offering brand new iPhones for a decent price in an attempt by one of the network participants to acquire traffic which will ultimately convert into sales.

Sample spamvertised email offering cheap and easy-to-obtain iPhones:

What we’ve got here is an example of an affiliate network participant targeting English-speaking users, even though the actual web site is targeting Russian-speaking users. Interested in taking a peek inside the iPhones selling affiliate network? Keep reading.

Sample screenshot of the entry page for the iPhone selling affiliate network:

Second screenshot offering an inside peek into the iPhone selling affiliate network:

Third screenshot offering an inside peek into the iPhone selling affiliate network:

Fourth screenshot offering an inside peek into the iPhone selling affiliate network:

Fifth screenshot offering an inside peek into the iPhone selling affiliate network:

Sixth screenshot offering an inside peek into the iPhone selling affiliate network:

Seventh screenshot offering an inside peek into the iPhone selling affiliate network:

Eighth screenshot offering an inside peek into the iPhone selling affiliate network:

Ninth screenshot showcasing a sample landing page:

Tenth screenshot showcasing a sample landing page:

We advise bargain hunters to avoid clicking on links found in spam emails, avoid entering their credit card details on sites found in spam emails, and to avoid purchasing any kind of item promoted in these emails.

You can find more about Dancho Danchev at his LinkedIn Profile. You can also follow him on  Twitter.


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