December 20, 2007 — Attackers have hacked the servers of Australian Web hosting provider MD Web Hosting (mdwebhosting.com.au), embedding malicious code to spawn “link farms” on its customers’ sites, according to news site, Australian IT (australianit.news.com.au).
Link farming is the act of exchanging reciprocal links with websites to boost search engine optimization. The Web host says that over the past two weeks it’s been the victim of hacking attacks from IP addresses that originated from Russia and Turkey.
“Obviously some companies buy the services of these Russians to find vulnerable websites,” says Tom Najda, MD Web Hosting business services manager. “These link farms were linking back to pharmaceutical websites which are obviously looking to boost their Google ranking.”
The hackers gained access to about five servers which failed to have the correct security profiles. To make matters worse, the company’s IP blocking systems and firewalls were not up to par, says Najda. The issue, which was resolved earlier this week, affected only between five to ten percent of its 20,000 customers, he says.