Beware hackers piggybacking SEO success

SEO can drive website visitors and therefore revenue, so can be a potential goldmine for hackers, explains Sam Tilston, director of marketing for Zoombits.co.uk.

He points out that hacking sites for links is the main threat, suggesting that fraudsters penetrate a site to embed hidden links on it.

"This can be very detrimental to the hacked sites’ search positions," Mr Tilston commented.

"The more authoritative or powerful a website is, the bigger a target it will be to hackers."

The expert also urges online firms to be aware of Google universal search when optimising their websites for contemporary references rather than broader issues.

Results for hot topics, such as the new Google phone Nexus One, are given live with real-time information, so SEO efforts should utilise social networking.

"If you are doing SEO for a contemporary reference, it is vital to ensure your message is placed on Facebook and Twitter to ensure they are included in the Google real-time search," Mr Tilston added.

The need to maintain high levels of security when optimising websites has also been highlighted by Sunbelt Software.

In its IT security key trends report, the firm says SEO is an important area that hackers are entering.

They use SEO techniques in a variety of ways, including to lure users to malicious sites and rank highly in search engine results.

Last month, search terms such as "Brittany Murphy", "Chromium OS download" and "new year’s parades" were among the most dangerous.

McAfee too warns of threats for 2010, pointing out that social media platforms and new web standards will be a major source of security issues this year.

It warns that hackers will exploit social media sites, especially those such as Twitter that use abbreviated URLs as these make it easier for fraudsters to persuade consumers to visit dangerous websites.

Furthermore, the introduction of HTML five will help to shift user activity from the desktop to the internet, creating another opportunity for malware writers to prey on users.

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