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SEO on crack

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Thursday December 6, 2007 )

This story didn’t really register with me when it broke last week – it was about sites containing malware littering the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages); nothing really new there. What I didn’t realize was it turned out to be a very well orchestrated hacker attack via SEO.

The story goes that hackers generated thousands of pages crammed with common search terms, added automated malware downloads; then utilized thousands of already compromised computers (aka zombies) to spam forums and blogs with links back to those sites – giving them link popularity. These sites rose up in rankings, albeit briefly. Google and the other engines started clearing them out – but then another attack occurred a few days later.

The company that cottoned on to what was happening was Sunbelt Software. You can read more take a peek at some screenshots here and another post on the follow up attack here. It’s quite an interesting blog overall actually, well worth visiting.

What I found really surprising is that this actually worked; particularly on Google – they are usually pretty good at picking up on this sort of thing – a site coming from nowhere and suddenly picking up tens of thousands of links is a huge red flag, particularly when they are structured in such a way. Anyway, it’s a good reminder about the dangers of spyware and perhaps also of hiring anyone who promises to get you no.1 rankings on Google, doesn’t have a site and communicates via a hotmail address ;).

If you’re looking for some tips on more *ethical* SEO; try my search engine optimization articles section.


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