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American State Govt Computers Attacked 300 Million Times a Day by Hackers

SEO scheme used to hack dozen of university sites for traffic

With the introduction of the internet, various people have gained access to numerous things they never thought they could.

Just recently, security researchers at eTraffic managed to uncover a new scheme that enabled the hackers to make sites rocket up the organic search ratings. When the firm further investigated the issue, they noticed that at least 76 different university and foundation web pages, some of which included reputable universities such as Stanford, New York University, and Carnergie Mellon University had all begun to link to the site.

The universities were all linking to the site because of keywords that were linked to the topics but contained otherwise unrelated text of the article searched for. The Google search ranking is still loosely based on the keyword links from some of the trusted sites, meant it was enough alone for the site to be propelled straight to the top of the pile of the search ranking.

After all the links were revealed, they noticed that there had been 76 sites which all linked to the website and the majority of them were university sites throughout the world. Most of the links that were embedded mid sentence in the course descriptions and the press releases. Even four days after the eTraffic research and investigation and they published their findings to the public, the links are still available on some of the affected sites.

How the links themselves started to show up on the site is unclear at the moment, but the idea that the host institutions put them there is highly unlikely. One plausible reason might be hacking considering the numerous numbers of known vulnerabilities in most of the popular plugins which are probably used on the site.

When asked to reveal the site which was at fault, eTraffic refused to reveal the offending site, but it however narrowed it down to a slot machine affiliate website. The site is probably a clearinghouse for the paid links to the online gambling businesses. The notion that it is an affiliate of the gambling business is important because online gambling is one of the few areas that make it lucrative enough for such a hack to be any worthwhile.

For such terms as online real money slots, ad revenue is relatively high and it can be as high as $80. The money involved in the online gambling industry is so much more that people will take the next step to at least bypass the Google step, according to the eTraffic CEO Guy Regev. Mr Regev was the one who managed to uncover the scheme. This is more of a spin off on how criminals make money through compromised sites.

About Ali Raza

Ali Raza is a freelance journalist with extensive experience in marketing and management. He holds a master degree and actively writes about crybersecurity, cryptocurrencies, and technology in general. Raza is the co-founder of SpyAdvice.com, too, a site dedicated to educating people on online privacy and spying.

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