Does your employer copy documents, books or magazines without permission? Report them and earn (up to) £100,000.

Copywatch advert on googleSuch is the exhortation from a UK organisation called CopyWatch, which is an arm of the Copyright Licensing Agency.

Why am I writing about them?

Well – I saw an advert for their “report your boss” thing and thought I’d have a look to see who they are and what they are up to. In case you are thinking what I think you are thinking – I am self-employed – so, no I am not planning to report myself to them!

I typed their name into Google and got a very odd result.

Google search results for copywatch

Thinking “gosh what a clever firm to cloak their google searches so IT staff might not suspect anything”, I clicked through and saw a fairly clean page. Now, that is actually a bit odd as Google wouldn’t highlight the “cloaking” normally, so I had a look at the source code for the web page (or click on the Google cache to see what Google sees).

spam!

Oh dear – it seems that their website has been hacked by someone and now the anti-copyright theft body is doing a sterling job in boosting adverts for Viagra, and related products on another website.

Would you trust an organisation which promises anonymity to anyone who reports nefarious evil bosses – but can’t secure their own website?

If you know anything about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), you’ll know that Google favours links to websites from other sites with a high Page Rank – and indeed, the CopyWatch site has quite a high page rank, being 7/10.

If you are a website owner, then you should really be signed up to the Google Webmaster platform, and they will actually try to contact you via email if they detect this sort of thing going on. Of course, making sure you apply security updates to your webserver would help in preventing this from happening in the first place.

Oh dear!

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