Research Papers
Search Engines
Webinar, Seminar, Live Classes
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 11:50

CMU website, others targeted by hackers to toy with Google search results

Carnegie Mellon University's website was hacked.

But it wasn't an attack intended to take the university offline or one aimed at stealing personal information.

Instead, the hackers slipped a single word, “machine,” into a page about the executive director of CMU's Australia campus and linked the word to an online casino site, according to an investigation by eTraffic, an Israeli web marketing company that discovered the hack last month.

That link, and dozens like it on college and government sites, helped the casino website — mobileslotcash[dot]com — shoot to the top of Google's search results, likely driving traffic to the site and potentially bringing in $80 per click.

It was a classic “black hat” search engine optimization (SEO) tactic, experts told the Tribune-Review. It's the shady side of Internet marketing, in which some groups break the rules and sometimes resort to hacking to rank near the top of search engine results.

“We felt that applying this kind of SEO strategy is aiming a bit too low,” eTraffic wrote in a report on its investigation. “There's no other way to put it — this is just wrong.”

The hack targeted CMU and more than 70 other university, college and government websites, all ending in .edu or .gov. ETraffic said the hackers took advantage of the “last online resort free of exactly these kinds of manipulations.”

The phrase “online slot machines for real money” and a link appeared in a Stanford University page about how to build a website. “Online casino games real money no deposit” appeared on a website for the city of Reading, which was intended to give step-by-step directions to access government services. Boston University's library page for The North American Fichte Society, a site for scholars devoted to the study of German philosopher J.G. Fichte, had the words “real money mobile slots” on it.

Links from these types of sites are prized in the SEO world. They can add credibility and legitimacy to sites Google scans, causing the search engine to list it higher in results.

The renegade words and links have since been removed from many of the affected websites. The casino website has since disappeared from Google search results. Google likely learned about its SEO trickery and banned it, experts said.

In a statement to the Tribune-Review, Google declined to comment on specifics.

“Our webmaster guidelines are designed to protect users, and when a site violates them, we reserve the right to take action to preserve a good user experience. This helps ensure that in the long run people can find the best possible search results on Google, and website owners can compete on a level playing field for traffic,” Google wrote.

CMU declined to comment on the hack. Other universities, colleges and governments contacted for the story did not comment.

Little is known about the casino site behind the links. Mobileslotcash[dot]com claims to have information and links to online casinos. The site's editors make casino ratings once a month to “give a complete picture of what online casinos are worth your attention, so that you can try your luck in them,” according to the site.

The site is registered in the Czech Republic. When asked for comment via email, mobileslotcash[dot]com directed the Tribune-Review to fill out a form used to report abuses by the site. No one responded.

Guy Regev, CEO of eTraffic, told the Trib his company has detected black hat SEO tactics before but not on such an aggressive level.

ETraffic reached out to the affected sites through Twitter but saw little reason for concern.

“The perpetrators got what they wanted — a link from high-trust sites. My intuition says that's all there is there,” Regev said. “The main takeaway is that there is a lot of money in search, probably too much, and people will go to insane lengths to get their hands on some of it.”

Vanitha Swaminathan, a marketing and business economics professor at University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, said black hat tactics can produce significant short-term results. But if Google or others find out, they can ban websites from their searches, costing companies dearly.

Large, reputable companies such as BMW, Toys R Us and J.C. Penney have all inadvertently hired a search engine consulting firm that used black hat tactics to inflate their search ranks.

“But, when they were found out, their rankings dropped so significantly, it cost the company a great deal by way of lost sales,” Swaminathan said. “Be aware of the risks of using black hat SEO — when you get found out, the search engine can make you regret you ever did it.”



  • Comment Link 3win8 apk Wednesday, 17 July 2019 14:29 posted by 3win8 apk

    One within the easiest solutions to generate free network leads for yiur MLM clients are through social media sites.

    Social networking sites took the internet byy storm over recent yars years.
    Whether it be business networking sites such as Ryze,
    Fast Pitch, and Direct Matches, or more generc sites such as
    MySpae and Facebook, tend tto be endless chance too build relationships with others,
    get free leads to all your MLM business, aas welol as to market your
    prroduct and services.

    Wheen are generally deciding what to market focus
    is needed on the labels. One specific and simple themje exactly what should
    be focused from. It is harder to market a broad, vague idea.
    Generasl items are harder tto sell than niche items.
    A soft cover permits last with a reasonable pricing is easier to offer than a
    golf golfing ball.

    good content provides traffic. Content that is keyword rioch will bring more traffic that Gokgle and other search engines will ssnd to you'll.
    At first turning to the major search engines won't cut the
    mustard. You have to do mor to enssure good quality traffic.

    In pkain engkish a quality websire is first and foremost.
    We strive to use locations to markwt products and
    convert customers for the merchant and eatn commission fees.

    Offsiite SEO techniques the particular key too scoring ann excellent source oof a
    internt marketing. While onsite SEO is important,
    your real effects are going tto come from offsite SEO.

    Also known inn the blogosphere as utility pastes. Thee types oof posts ussually are often a "Top 10 Ways In order to." or "The 7 Things You need To." method on. All
    off these great this iis because they arre not just easy to read, but additionally useful for that reader too.

    Getting online traffic can manifest as a challenge, but at finish of
    the day it tend to be very profitable. Aim too please prospects and they'll
    always returning for more. More importantly always try to think quite a few marketing techniques to gain payday loans no faxing exposure.

  • Comment Link 3win8 casino Monday, 01 July 2019 12:24 posted by 3win8 casino

    Having a web page and having a business seemingly go turn in hand in the current market.
    Ittem way for your very own business gett off is good your
    sitee to hzve a ranking from the search magnetic motors.
    When your website has a high ranking on those search engines it gets
    more web page. Traffic is the at the centre of any succedsful website.

    Just design you website structure, create your content pages (don't worry if usually are not completed
    yet)and publish them swiftly. Because, the process of indexing, new websites takes about sixty days.
    So, approach helps you saving time.

    The position of these first few sites will only be helped
    by associated with oof Optimisation. This will guaranteed that that
    the web page sgays leading of the google search results while queries related to its content
    are being searched concerning. This provides the site with
    a boost in traffic. The finest a site is
    going to get more sales is this help in excess off traffic.
    Of which may be exactly what Strategic Website techniques do for a niche site.
    Increasing the traffic on the site makes sure to combine sale
    on a site. Incredibly hwlp and also to get an even better page rank andd differentiate thedmselves
    from all another rival web sites.

    The Pyramid Method is really a term i like the to describe the technique I optimize a how does a person amplify my chosen keywords
    so that the search engine gives me a nice placing among or over my leading competitors.
    Thee Pyramid Method starts up att tips for sites in your title, spreading through your
    description and Keywords then onto yoir page body, headline tags, first words, links and atterwards onto the pates that you link in order to.

    Thiis can be a traditional obtain little models. Use ribbon too
    border a page or include lace regions. Photos of youhr daughter in long, flowing dresses are amazing and try gluing tiny chains on as neck
    and wrist accessories. Plain pastel backgrounds work well and include
    soft touches like bzby feathers andd tiny ovoids.

    Posting on yahoo Groups advertising for your website is something very useful building good page Rank.

    The posts incorporate at least two links to could.

    It's just good business to always check the PR of sites with yoou may possibly want in order to change links utilizing the Google plugin. Also,
    be sure to check out the page the opposite site wants to
    put website address needs to on that means you know how many links might publishing.
    As compared to 100 links is what you will be looking for and compared too 20 linkss is wonderful.

    Do not fear existing order online, use only good websites and make payments from paypal, provided you can. I have mentioned sites that are grerat page rank websites.

Leave a comment

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
Please wait
online research banner

airs logo

AIRS is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Subscribe to AIRS Newsletter

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
Please wait

Follow Us on Social Media