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Our client's website content was hacked with text that promotes gambling and 'binary options' websites.

Examples are:

"If you are looking for binary or forex trading or brokers have a look at this binary options website"

"Looking for legal casino site? Have a look at this casino sites for full list"

My question is, do the gambling sites authorize these hacks? Our client says that one of the pieces of text links off to a website. Our client would like to know if we need to contact these sites and inform them that bots have added links to their sites onto our site.

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What does your contract say about this? The client can do whatever they like but your role as 'web designer' is spelled out in your contract (at least it should be). A designer shouldn't be fixing anything not covered in the contract just as a car dealer isn't going to give you a new car if you trash yours. You might provide the original files as a courtesy though. Also, consider editing your title to match the question in the paragraph text as they are radically different issues. –  Tom Brossman Apr 10 at 8:21

1 Answer 1

Say nothing to no-one.

Take snap-shots and capture the source code immediately. Also figure out how they got into the site and plug the hole fast.

After you feel good about having as much evidence as to how the site appeared post hack, fix the site.

Then research as much as you can. Do not say anything to anybody. Figure out who owns the site that is linked to. Do a whois or use domaintools.com to figure out who owns the site. Capture this information for file too. Figure out if at all possible how you were hacked and who is responsible.

Here is the rub. You will not likely be able to take any kind of action against the linked gambling site or the hacker simply because you will not likely be able to link causation. Hackers are good at hiding their tracks though not always. It is not likely that you will be able to figure out who hacked your site and then draw a line between the hacker and the site. But try anyway. Create some Google Alerts to help discover web pages on the subject. It may be that information will show up to help.

In the off chance that you do figure things out, then hire an attorney.

As a side note: I appreciate your wanting to notify the gambling site. I am sure it is out of a kind heart. It is likely that they already know either being surprised by the surge in traffic, or because they are guilty. It may be they are only guilty of hiring someone to increase traffic. Either way, hedge your bet and stay quiet. Never give away your best hand. (I just had to put some gambling cliche's in- could not help myself.)

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Sometimes an affiliate marketing entity can be behind the hack. This is indicated by special referral links to the gambling site. So, if the links are not direct links to the casino page, then it is most likely an affiliate. Affiliate contracts usually forbid all kinds of illegal marketing. Therefore the gambling site would have the right to terminate the affiliate deal and leave the hacker without profits from the hack. If the gambling site is a reputable public company (Unibet, Betsson, Ladbrokes etc.), then it is a good idea to contact them. –  Tero Kilkanen Apr 10 at 9:30
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Excellent! You should have posted this as an answer. –  closetnoc Apr 10 at 14:11

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