How Fraudsters Use Amazon Cloud To Create False Web Traffic

If you, or your company, own a website, then you know that the key to the success of that website is traffic. Internet traffic is the holy grail, without it, you might as well set up shop in the middle of the desert.

Internet marketers always strive to understand how web traffic works and more importantly, use this knowledge to drive more traffic to particular site. It is such an important aspect of online businesses that companies exist with the sole the purpose of offering potential customers their expertise and send more traffic to their sites. This industry is such that it is difficult to offer any recommendation as to what exactly constitutes expertise, and how much you should pay for it. It’s a number’s game. If an internet marketing you’ve hired brings you qualified traffic (which leads to actual purchases), then, provided your profit margin is such that you can afford to pay for this expertise, chances are you will have hired the “right” internet marketing company. Often times, it’s only after you’ve invested your hard earned cash that will know whether you made the right choice.

Experts or not, most internet specialists work to exploit their knowledge in ways that doesn’t break any law. In the search engine industry for example, this has lead to a dance whereby search engines introduce new algorithms, which in turn we try to understand, adapt to, and then to our own benefits. It’s a dance alright and it is even called like that in the search engine industry:  The Google Dance.

Internet traffic doesn’t come only through search engines.  It is estimated that social media platforms generate more traffic than the king itself, google, but if you want traffic, and you are prepared to buy it, then web ads, placed in high traffic website can generate a lot of traffic as well. There are people who specialize in that niche as well. It can be costly, the kind of traffic you might eventually receive might not generate enough business, but it is entirely above board.

But just like any other aspect of online business, there are those of us who want to work without breaking any rule and then there are others, who really don’t mind bending the rule, and sometimes even employ illegal means to generate traffic.

These individual use specialized “bots” to create traffic and disseminate it over the Web. If you don’t know what a bot is, you can learn all about it Bots.

Of course, the bots these people use works differently in that they mimic the actions of real consumers and trick marketers into paying for ads displayed on Web pages. Various techniques are used to generate artificial traffic, such as infecting consumers personal  computers with software that load web pages without their knowledge.  Or, even better, install similar software on cloud computing services such as Amazon to simulate real users.

Be cautious out there.

Or you could hire me! 🙂

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Ashley Madison hacked? Hackers threaten to expose 37M users. Divorce lawyers can’t wait

The site Ashley Madison has been hacked.  It’s not the first time that a major website has suffered at the ends of hackers, but what makes this case unique is that Ashley Madison is “ a website for cheating spouses “ and the hackers are threatening to expose all of its 37 million users.

Can you imagine what is going on in the mind of those men and women right now who are on that users list that may or may not be exposed?  Some people might call is Karma, the revenge of the cheated spouse, but one thing is sure: divorce lawyers are rubbing their hands in anticipation and so are flower shop owners.

Lots of people will have lots of ‘splaining to do, and for some, that won’t be sufficient. No matter the angle you are looking at this from, hacking a site is criminal and people get hurt in the process.

My clients often ask me why some people break an entering like that (that’s what hacking is) and often times, the reason is as simple as… because they can. For some, the fact that they have broken into the door is sufficient and once a site has been hacked, they just pad themselves on the shoulder and move on.  Others find it funny to replace the home page with a page of their own, displaying some kind of message, political and otherwise and in the true manner of a megalomaniac individual also live their hackers’ handle.  An electronic graffiti that shows the world how clever these hackers are.

And then you have the others, those who want to make money on the back of users, by selling their personal information to the highest bidder, including their credit cards and even social security numbers, and don’t think twice about the harm they cause.  They are crooks, why would they care?

Unlike the common presumption, most hackers are not particularly competent computer experts, coders and or developers.  They just know how to use specialized software, available out and which are so easy to use, a click of mouse if often all the expertise they need.

The best way to explain how these hacking scripts work is to compare them the “bots” search engines use to rank a site. Google for example uses bots who are designed to hop from one site to the next, look at the content of a page, log its findings to a database and move on to the next page.

Hackers user similar scripts but their only purpose in to search for “holes” that can be exploited.


Spoofing, Shmoozing. What is Spoofing and Why It Matters To YOU.

We all know what spamming is. Indeed it would be a safe bet to imagine that like most people  throughout the world, just, yourself had to deal with your own share of inbox cleaning today, with the sole purpose of weeding unwanted, spam emails. And in spite of more and more specific filtering solutions, and in spite of our best efforts to get rid of these unruly intrusions into our private life, every day, yet more spam emails find their way into our inboxes…

The other day, I gave a presentation to a small audience of webmasters. When I asked them if they knew what email spamming was, I wasn’t surprised to see that just about everybody raised their hands. Everybody knows what email spamming is. But when it comes to Website Spoofing the reality is different and too many people, even professional webmaster don’t really know what it really is.  And it was the case with my own group of webmasters.

So what is website spoofing?

Here is what Wikipedia – Web Spoofing has to say about this:

Website spoofing is the act of creating a website, as a hoax, with the intention of misleading readers that the website has been created by a different person or organization. Normally, the spoof website will adopt the design of the target website and sometimes has a similar URL. A more sophisticated attack results in an attacker creating a “shadow copy” of the World Wide Web by having all of the victim’s traffic go through the attacker’s machine, causing the attacker to obtain the victim’s sensitive information.

There are all kinds of methods to trick a visitor into visiting a website that looks familiar with the sole purpose of abusing that visitor’s trust and spoofing is a real problem that cost billions of dollars to legitimate companies out there.

The easiest method is to misspell a name. For example,type in your address bar, and the site that comes up seems like it is the real thing. HOWEVER if you remove the letter K and type (DO NOT, IT’S A SPOOFING SITE) (without the K) you would get sent to something that has nothing to do with the website you thought you were visiting. This example illustrates the most rudimentary type of spoofing, other method are in fact a whole lot more pernicious.

People use spoofing for all kinds of nefarious purposes and in most cases, they can cause real damage to the innocent visitor.

Want to know else these spoofing gangsters get up to?

IP Spoofing. Which simply means that attacks can often times disguise the identity of the sending or receiving host by taking advantage of a lack of accountability in the TCP/IP suite protocols.  A good way to defend yourself against such attack is by using a quality firewall.

Referrer Spoofing… by which an incorrect referrer information in the HTTP request is sent in order to prevent a website from obtaining the identity of the webpage previously visited by the user.

Then there are

Call ID spoofing, GPS Spoofing, e-mail address spoofing (the use of someone else’s email address as the sender when sending spam emails to others… I often receive spam emails which look like they have come from my own personal email address, when of course they haven’t.

It’s the wild, wild west out there in the online world.

Be cautious…