Friday, April 30, 2010

v-Fluence responds to hacking by blogger - v-fluence - BIG Pharma - AstraZeneca

The spin machine moves into full gear now. So let's set the record straight. "I did not hack into v-fluence".

These accusations published on their web site are complete fabrication by the spin doctors themselves. They left their site door wide open to public viewing, and I simply peered in and have brought their seedy practices to everyone's attention on this blog.

This is a typical response from these kinds of corporate entities. As they say in the PR biz, "Kill the Messenger, Kill the message". Nice try v-fluence, but slander will get you no where.

Now would you like to comment on keeping secret files on individuals and blogs? Is this incident reflecting badly on your business model and huge corporate clients? How much will this cost you Mr. Byrne?

I certainly would like "full disclosure" on how much and what kinds of information has been gathered by your company and how is it being used by your clients. Please spin these questions to your advantage now. This isn't MAD COW were talking about, this is an issue of private corporations gathering information and creating files on private citizens.

I'll be waiting with breathless and baited anticipation for your response here Mr. Byrne.

May I quote you here Mr Byrne: "Think of the Internet as a weapon on the table. Either you pick it up or your competitor does - but somebody is going to get killed."

If this is actually what you believe Mr. Byrne, then you better check your weapon, because at this juncture you're shooting nothing but blanks.

Of course for those who wish to know more about your business tactics Mr. Byrne, I suggest they read -

( appears this link now directs you to their main page, just type "Jay Byrne" into their search engine and page displays)

v-Fluence responds to hacking by blogger

(30 April 2010, St. Louis, MO)

On April 29th a blogger gained inappropriate access to a v-Fluence Interactive server Web portal used by our Internet content screeners and analysts to code monitoring data. This unethical hacking was limited to an out-of-date application on a monitoring data entry portal and one occurrence by this one unauthorized user. At no time was any v-Fluence client-owned or proprietary client information accessible via this portal and no such data were compromised.

The only data available on this space were links to publicly available Internet content with draft excerpts and historical analysis summaries of that content. The screen shot reveals v-Fluence images of Internet monitoring systems and protocols established to support U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory compliant reporting associated with potential adverse events and other regulated content for pharmaceutical, medical device and similar regulated healthcare organizations. No company e-mail, legal or other files were housed on this server. No other servers or v-Fluence company content were compromised.

This illegal access of a protected computer was conducted by a blogger following a log file from a monitoring bot from which he gained unauthorized access to one data entry portal hosted on one of our servers. This blogger then collected a screen shot of this content for purposes of publicly distributing the data in an attempt to cause reputational damage to our company and clients by name. This unauthorized access was immediately identified by our data and software management team and traced back to the source. The hacked server was closed as a precaution and the application through which the hacker gained unauthorized access was removed.

While no specific client data was breached, we take any illegal and authorized access of a v-Fluence computer seriously and report such cybercrime activities to the appropriate authorities.

For more information please contact or call (877) 835-8362.


Related links: from B-NET bnet-pharma

AstraZeneca's "Man Behind the Curtain" Moment: Company's Blog Monitoring Database Is Hacked

By Jim Edwards
Apr 30, 2010

'AstraZeneca\'s "Man Behind the Curtain" Moment: Company\'s Blog Monitoring Database Is Hacked'

"AstraZeneca's man behind the curtain is Jay Byrne of the v-Fluence PR firm."

AstraZeneca (AZN) woke up to a PR headache this morning when a mental health blogger got hold of a database created to monitor web coverage of its antipsychotic drug Seroquel. Although the database doesn’t contain any specific gaffes, it’s still something of a “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” moment for the company.

Everyone knows pharmaceutical companies monitor bloggers who cover the drug business. But they don’t usually let bloggers see the results of their surveillance, which is what makes this incident so fascinating. Seroquel is a touchy subject for AZ right now, as it is facing thousands of lawsuits claiming the company failed to warn patients that a side effect of the drug is weight gain. Seroquel is one of AZ’s best-selling drugs.

The database, as published on the blog “Is Something Not Quite Right With Stan,” is tricky to navigate. But the best results can be had by clicking on field under “Annotation Groups.”

That drop-down menu lists all the headlines that the database tracked in that period. Some of the results are inane:

Actor Jim Carrey splits with Jenny McCarthy

Others are clearly spot on:

Pharmagossip amplifies DIDA documents that reveal “connection” between SEROQUEL and crisis consultant.

That last one was probably a reference to this item. AZ had this to say:

We believe it is important to read what is written about the business and our medicines to better understand issues that are important to journalists, bloggers and the public.

The database
was prepared by v-Fluence, a pr firm employed by AZ. The agency’s chief, Jay Byrne, published a blog item this morning explaining why drug companies monitor web coverage. Big Food conspiracy theorists can look here for more information on Byrne, a former director of public affairs for Monsanto.

Jim Edwards, a former managing editor of Adweek, has covered drug marketing at Brandweek for four years, and is a former Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University's business and journalism schools. Follow him on Twitter or send him an email@


UPDATE April 30, 2010

Since it has been said in the PR fantasy-land " there is no such thing as bad press, just press". I would like to pass along this link and post it as a gift to Jay Byrne,v-Fluence, and their client Astra Zeneca. I hope you have fun spinning this one also Mr. Byrne.

AstraZeneca's PR Machine Caught With Their Pants Down!


From a true advocate and brave blogger with integrity @ SEROXAT SUFFERERS - STAND UP AND BE COUNTED

I Personally "Thank You", very funny Fid

additional links: @ Pharmagossip

Jay Byrne - V-Fluence and the AstraZeneca Seroquel connection

AstraZeneca - Seroquel : V-FluenceGate, Stan writes

@ Pharma Conduct

Mental Health Blogger Creates a Seroquel Public Relations Nightmare for AstraZeneca

@ Beyond Conformity

Conformity, compliance and control.


Anonymous said...

AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (Public, NYSE:AZN

AstraZeneca plc (ADR) discussed on blogs
Pozen (NASDAQ:POZN): Price Retreating after Break-Out Ahead of FDA ... - Mike Havrilla - FavStocks - 4 hours ago

Is Something Not Quite Right With Stan - A Mental Health Blog: v ... - Stan - Is Something Not Quite Right With Stan - A Mental Health Blog - 4 hours ago

Study sharpens focus on Glaxo's heart drug hope | Journalist Profile | - Kate Kelland - Kate Kelland - 14 hours ago
More blog posts about AstraZeneca plc (ADR) »

Apr 29, 2010
Q1 2010 AstraZeneca PLC Earnings Release

Anonymous said...

London, 29 April 2010 Revenue for the first quarter increased by 7 percent at constant exchange rates (CER) to $8,576 million.

Fid said...

V-Fluence owe me a new computer monitor as I spat coffee all over mine when I heard of their gaffe and subsequent excuse.

Be interesting to see if pharma wish to use their services again. I mean, if they leave private documents open to the public, they can't really be that good at snooping can they?

Radagast said...

I've just had a minor thought as to what this (accusations of hacking), might be about...

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).

These corporate types are so fucking paranoid that anybody who contracts with them has to sign up to some code of secrecy, or other, that states that they won't reveal any proprietary commercial information (this often includes a service provider, such as F-luents, not even being permitted to confirm that it is retained by a given client!).

Now, if F-luents has been negligent in allowing that information to be publicly accessible (it certainly seems that way), then it's potentially in breach of the NDAs it's signed, and any clients that feel inclined could get pissy with it.

All this bollox is, then, an arse-covering exercize. Possibly.


Anonymous said...


all I can say is WOW


Hasn't someone asked why this v-fluence didn't apply the golden rule of public relations here "do not ever ever ever embarrass the client by your actions in public"

I bet other public relations firms are circling those accounts like sharks to blood in the water.

The American Icon Forrest Gump had it right when he said; "Stupid is as stupid does"

Anonymous said...

Political Friendster

soulful sepulcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Borepatch said...

Speaking professionally, almost none of these "hacking" incidents are actual "hacking". They're almost always "someone told me the password to the file server and I logged in and downloaded the data."

Not that the server's security isn't swiss cheese, and you could probably hack in in 30 seconds, even without skillz. The point is, it's almost always what we in the security biz call "authorized access that p***es off the PR flacks".

Anonymous said...

"v-Fluence: Clients expect top level Internet warfare, slick front groups and false critics who make the real opposition look bad. Full client list at front organization link."

Fid said...

What is their IP address Stan?

I will check my stats to see if they have been snooping around my blog.

soulful sepulcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
insider said...

Hi Stan,

Have set the record straight!

Clicking is not hacking!



Stan said...

Fid left this comment in the prior thread:

They [the shills] probably have us all down as anorak wearing, banner waving, bearded freaks.

Apologies to Steph as I know she doesn't wear anoraks

My response:

Thanks a whole bunch my friend.

Now when they send the professional goon squad after me, they will have a pretty accurate description of who to harass. lol.....

By the way, Steph doesn't wave banners, see hangs them on lamp post while do a little song and dance routine. lol.....

Stan said...


Thank you for the setting the record straight.

soulful sepulcher said...

hey i don't have a beard either LOL

love that simple sentence:

"Clicking is not hacking"

Anonymous said...

"If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paul Thacker (202) 224-4515.


Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member"

Anonymous said...

Did you see that the spin meisters have blocked Jay Byrne's page, and it defaults to the main?

I've taken a pdf of the cache before they pass a few megabucks under the table and ask Google to remove that too.

Want a copy?

Radagast said...

Stan wrote:
"They [the shills] probably have us all down as anorak wearing, banner waving, bearded freaks..."

Fuck!.. [stuffs anorak and banner in duffel bag and starts shaving] I am not!


Radagast said...

Anonymous wrote:
""v-Fluence: Clients expect top level Internet warfare, slick front groups and false critics who make the real opposition look bad. Full client list at front organization link.""

Yeah, I've seen this quotation, too. What the fuck is that about? Clients expect this, do they? How is that known? Have they said so? And which ones have said so? And what is meant by "Internet warfare"? What form does that take?

I mean, for fuck's sake! How old are these fuckers? In fact, age has nothing to do with it - there's just no maturity of thought - the objectives are tedious and finite (ie, they've achieved their objectives, so all that's left for them to do is to start again, and to find different ways of doing the same thing, over and over again). And these people (ie, the clients, principally), are the halfwits who run the world. No wonder it's fucked!


Pharma Conduct Guy said...

Curious if V-Fluence has been poking around your blog?

V-Fluence owns the following IP addresses: -

Of course there are many ways to hide your tracks, but I'm guessing they don't.

Anonymous said...

I got this email from the USPTO five days ago (two of them, actually, to my two main addresses) and I thought I’d wait till I was less irritated before I wrote about it, but you know what, that’s not working. The title was “Yes, the USPTO reads blogs! USPTO Small Business Protection Web Site” Reading the first phrase, for a microsecond I thought “Hey, they’re getting a clue?” but no, it’s a just a vapid PR pitch for two of their “Stop Fakes” websites, which are full of marketing bumph with two messages: “Get Patents Now!” and “The Administration is Great!” And the email itself? Here’s a sample: “Can bloggers help? Yes! The USPTO is well aware of the impact bloggers have and the important role they play. As an online opinion leader you can help small businesses protect the intellectual property of small businesses in one of several ways: Write about the site in your blog...” (I’ll spare you the rest). Oh yes, and across the bottom: ***This e-mail was sent on behalf of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by v-Fluence Interactive Public Relations, Inc.*** So, let’s put this simply. Dear USPTO, you’re lying. If you actually read bloggers you’d know that the few who write about you think you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution (most recently, no less than Irving Wladawsky-Berger). Dear v-Fluence: You’re spammers, which means you’re filth. And, Dear World, please don’t give any more business to v-Fluence, they’re abusive incompetents.

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