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Wrong Way! Traffic Hijacking and Misdirection 101

Traffic hijacking could potentially affect whether your site is seen by other people. Here’s what you need to know.

When it comes to selling goods on the internet, there are few things more crucial than driving traffic to your site. With sales being the numbers game it is, the more people visiting a site generally means a higher amount of people buying products or services that the site is hawking. In fact, many sites generate income just by having ads on their heavily-trafficked site.

Needless to say, generating traffic is big business. Unfortunately, when there’s the opportunity to make good money, there’s always going to be some bad guys who want to make it unfairly. Traffic hijacking is basically the practice of diverting away traffic from sites that people want to go to, and redirecting it to a site they didn’t know or want to see. More often than not, they do it for profit.

Believe it or not, many blackhat (unethical) marketing agencies work by hijacking traffic through malevolent programs that automatically install themselves and direct users to sites that they have no interest in. Other unethical business people might mimick your company’s brand and start sending people who are looking for your brand to another site.

In some rarer cases, they may take over the website and force the site to automatically redirect to another site. No matter how you package it, these people are either forcing or tricking people into visiting a site that is not in their best interest. And, it can also be done to tamper with data, monitor traffic, and worse.

Traffic hijacking can have some pretty serious consequences for both users and companies alike.

  • It can ruin your company’s credibility, since people won’t want to buy from a company that they associate with viruses, traffic hijacking or other similarly unethical practices. Even if your company is one that’s benefitting from the hijacking, the best you can hope for is gaining traffic while losing credibility.
  • If you are unfortunate enough to download a traffic hijacking virus, you may end up with anything from your personal data being compromised to it being virtually impossible to enjoy the net normally. Seriously – internet hijacking viruses are terrible nuisances!
  • People who are cultivating a brand that is being mimicked by traffic hijackers will notice a large dip in traffic, too.
  • More often than not, sites that traffic hijackers tend to link to tend to be very low quality. So, if you are looking to research something in-depth, you may end up being unable to find the information that you’re looking for.

The bottom line here is that traffic hijacking is both a nuisance and a security threat, and it’s something that you need to protect yourself from. As a user, make sure that your antivirus software is up to date. As a business owner, it’s important to keep an eye out for suspicious activity on your network and put up safeguards to keep your brand intact.