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Hackers using your site to boost their SEO ratings

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Hi everybody,

Now hackers use your site to boost their SEO ranking even without your knowledge. Illicit websites selling everything from drugs and adult content to counterfeit goods are using illegally created referral links from legitimate websites.

Amichai Shulman, co-founder and CTO of Imperva, explained that more than 700 host IP addresses which are used by a botnet to launch SQLi and HTML link injection have been identified.  In addition, comment spam attacks on vulnerable websites have been used to create hidden links back to their clients' websites . This is a technique used to insert data and not steal data. It's a 'crime-as-a-service' operation offered to illicit web sites.

Since many sites need to be hit, a botnet is used to send out attacks. The ‘link farms' can be made up of content and links, and in some cases the links go via intermediary referral sites

“It's not a victimless crime…Over the longer term the Google ranking of the victim site goes down as a result of this [manipulation of SEO ranking]."

“It’s a serious threat but it’s easy to mitigate – yet so many applications don't bother… smaller companies often think they can't afford to defend themselves, but for a small app the costs can start from about US$ 50 per month. They are only being attacked because they decided to do nothing,” he added.

Sites affected have proven themselves to be vulnerable to attack and allowing criminals to identify victims and come back and steal data later.