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How to Secure Your Organisation from SEO Poisoning and Malvertising Threats
Simran December 11, 2023 488 views


Just because Google has banned illicit means to make your website rank on the first page of the search results doesn’t mean that every cybercriminal has stopped their nefarious actions. Malicious actors online use various tactics to deceive users and compromise their data. Even the best SEO company should be aware of the two prominent methods used by cybercriminals to misdirect users, viz. SEO poisoning and malvertising. While both share the common goal of luring unsuspecting users to harmful content, they differ in their approach and execution.

In today’s post, we’ll see what SEO poisoning and malvertising are, how they impact organisations and how to counter the threat they pose.

A Brief Introduction

SEO poisoning manipulates search engine algorithms to rank malicious websites higher in search results. It is a technique employed by bad actors to sabotage brands utilising SEO services in India to grow their digital presence.

This is often achieved through techniques like keyword stuffing, black hat SEO, typosquatting or creating duplicate websites. The aim is to appear as a legitimate result for popular searches, leading users to unknowingly visit a website containing malware, phishing links, or other threats.

Malvertising works by exploiting legitimate advertising platforms to deliver malicious content. Hackers can compromise ad networks, create fake ads disguised as trusted sources, or redirect users from legitimate websites to harmful ones. This allows them to spread malware, steal sensitive information, or disrupt website operations under the guise of harmless advertising.

Types-of-Malware-Attacks - RepIndia source: https://www.founderjar.com/types-of-malware-attacks/

How Do SEO Poisoning and Malvertising Threats Impact Organisations?

Both SEO poisoning and malvertising can have a significant negative impact on organisations, causing damage to their reputation, finances, and operations. Experts at RepIndia, which is a leading digital marketing company in India, have shortlisted the following implications of SEO poisoning and malvertising that can negatively impact your website and brand reputation. Here’s a detailed breakdown of their potential consequences:

  • Reputational damage: When a legitimate website is poisoned, it can appear in search results for negative keywords, leading to a negative public perception. This can damage the organisation’s brand image and erode customer trust.
  • Loss of traffic: If a website is penalised by search engines for SEO poisoning tactics, it will rank lower in search results, leading to a significant decrease in website traffic and potential customers.
  • Data breaches: SEO poisoning can be used to redirect users to phishing websites designed to steal sensitive information like login credentials and credit card details. This can lead to data breaches and financial losses.
  • Financial losses: Malvertising can be used to redirect users to fake e-commerce websites or trick them into making fraudulent payments. This can result in significant financial losses for the organisation. However, working with a professional eCommerce SEO company can help you avert that crisis. If you’re looking to ace the eCommerce SEO game, check out this blog.
  • Disrupted website operations: Malvertising can be used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on websites, overwhelming them with traffic and making them inaccessible to legitimate users. This can disrupt operations and negatively impact customer experience.

Additionally, both SEO poisoning and malvertising can increase IT security costs, negatively impact employee productivity, and impede legal compliance.

How to Protect Your Organisation from SEO Poisoning and Malvertising Threats?

Knowing is winning half the battle. Let’s see the primary ways that you can prevent your brand and website from falling prey to SEO poisoning and malvertising efforts from the bad actors present in the online marketing space. Additionally, top SEO and PPC experts from the team at RepIndia, the most trusted SEO company in Bangalore, have also prepped some steps to follow if your organisation is affected.

#1 – Prevention

To safeguard your organisation against the threats of SEO poisoning and malvertising, it is crucial to implement a comprehensive prevention strategy.

  • Begin by deploying Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) to detect and mitigate malicious traffic, including potential Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Regularly monitoring website traffic patterns is essential, as it enables the timely detection of anomalies indicative of SEO poisoning or malvertising attempts. Additionally, strict validation and filtering mechanisms for user-generated content should be put in place to prevent the injection of malicious code.
  • Employee security awareness training is fundamental in building a resilient defence. Educate employees to recognise phishing attempts, avoid suspicious links, and report any suspicious activity promptly. When engaging with advertising partners, prioritise those with robust security measures in place.

Bonus advice from the specialist SEO team at the best SEO company in India:

Keep all software updated to patch vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers, and conduct regular security audits to identify and address potential weaknesses in your IT infrastructure.

#2 – Detection

Finding SEO poisoning is hard, but companies can be better prepared by using Digital Risk Monitoring tools to catch typosquatting. When a new fake URL pops up, these tools tell security teams who made it.

Another way to find bad website links is by using lists of Indicators of Compromise (IOC). These lists have URLs that show evidence of weird website behavior, odd search rankings, phishing tries, unexpected changes in website visitors, and strange content. These lists can help spot or stop threats ahead of time.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) tools are good for quickly spotting issues by keeping an eye on user and client history. With an experienced SEO company in India having a better idea of how these tools work, EDR can help stop these threats before they grow to a level at which they cannot be handled. These tools look at all user activities during a security breach to figure out how a bad file got into the system. By checking these details, security teams can find and stop SEO poisoning attacks.

#3 – Response

Beyond just keeping an eye on things, organisations can take proactive measures to thwart SEO poisoning attacks.

  1. User Training and Awareness

    Educating users about safe browsing, recognising phishing attempts, and employing effective endpoint security measures plays a crucial role in preventing SEO poisoning. By providing this training, organisations reduce the likelihood of their staff falling victim to such attacks.

  2. Internal Security Measures

    Establishing a robust internal security stance and blocking sites known for malicious activities can effectively prevent SEO poisoning. Regularly updating security software and enforcing stringent web filtering procedures help minimise the risk of employees accessing harmful websites.

  3. Reporting Unusual SEO Results

    Every accomplished digital marketing company advises consistently reporting abnormal SEO results to the security team, enabling swift identification and response to potential SEO manipulation attempts. This proactive reporting approach ensures that the company can actively protect its search engine rankings and online reputation.

Key Takeaways

Ensuring the security of websites and preventing SEO poisoning attacks requires a strong collaboration between cybersecurity experts and SEO professionals. By putting in place comprehensive security measures, regularly auditing systems, monitoring for any suspicious activities, and staying abreast of emerging threats, these professionals can effectively shield websites from malicious manipulation.

Strengthening the defence against SEO poisoning involves educating website owners and clients about the significance of security and encouraging the adoption of best practices. Through a proactive and collaborative strategy, preferably with an accomplished SEO company in India like RepIndia, cybersecurity and SEO experts can not only uphold the integrity of websites but also optimise their online presence with efficiency.

Also Read: How Does ORM and SEO Boost a Brand’s Conversion Rate?

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