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My Joomla Website Has Been Robbed!

You may wonder how my Joomla website has been robbed and what has been stolen? If your site has been online for few months, chances are your site has been Hot-Linked by some thieves out there.

What is Hot-Linking?

“Hot-linking is a form of theft where other web sites link directly to the files on your site (such as images or product files) and display them on their own web pages (or link to them for downloading).”

So, why I care about Hot-Linking?

There are certainly a lot of reasons of why hot-linking will hurt your website. More hurts will go to those who are doing business online. Here are a few of the reasons why:

1. Uncontrolled bandwidth consumption.

This is very important if you’re using shared hosting which only provide you limited bandwidth. In such cases, not only has he stolen your files, he’s also using your server bandwidth to make them show up on his website. Other web sites linking to your images and files drain your bandwidth while giving you nothing in return.  This costs you money!

2. Your product files have been linked directly.

If you’re selling a product, it may shock you to know that there are many people who have no qualms about linking directly to your product files and letting other people download without paying.  That’s nasty business. And it gets even more nasty if the site sells embarrassing products or delivers hate messages or malware. It can even lead to identity theft.

Can Hot-Linking Be Stopped?

The answer is YES. If you know how to write the .htaccess file, then you can simply put the rules in place to stop people from stealing your bandwidth and products.  But it is not only about .htaccess file, it is more than that.

There’s a cool little script I installed the other day that protect your site from being hot-linked. It will trigger an email notification when someone is hot-linking to your files. Moreover, I can even configure the script to send a DIFFERENT file to the hot-linkers!

I installed the script on my site to test it out, and it works perfectly!  I immediately receive some email reports letting me know who was stealing my bandwidth. The fun thing is, they saw different file at their site. That is enough to give honest people the ability to get off the thief’s site FAST and click-over to MY site.

To protect your downloads, you can redirect your product files (like ZIP files), too.  That way if anybody is fraudulently linking directly to your product file, you can have those folks get a DIFFERENT file instead — perhaps a swapped out PDF or EXE that lets them know they’ve been ripped off and give them a proper link to the true web site.

I would say the installation can be completed within 5 minutes, as easy as installing Joomla application.

How about you?  Do YOU know how other people are using YOUR images and product files?

There’s one sure-fire way to find out in the next few minutes: simply download and install it, these fantastic new scripts put out by Willie Crawford and his team.

Does It Work With Joomla?

Actually the script is considered as a separated application, which does not modify our Joomla source file except .htaccess. However, you will only need to add a few lines of codes into the .htaccess. Anyhow, I have tested it on my Joomla site, with Artio component installed, and it works perfectly. Does it work with Joomla? Absolutely YES!

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