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Google Image Hijacking: images hijacked and redirected

     
9:25 am on May 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Recently a good number of images got top placement in google images and started appearing on the first page of google results.

Today, I saw that all the images which had been linked to articles on my site are now being redirected to a spammy foreign website, with nothing really there at all, no ads, just a bloggy template

I know I can prevent hot linking of the images which the site did do, but what really concerns me is the re-direction when you click on the google image.

How did they manage this and is there anything I can do to get the listings back so people are again taken to my site?

The images are hot linked to my site on the blog site and the file names are unchanged. The articles are not copied.
8:24 pm on May 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Eventually you get used to it.

What I do is change the name of the image, update my website and then put up another image with the original name. I put text on the images such as "This a stolen image" or "Warning! This site contains a virus".

Google eventually finds my original (renamed) image and I get the credit for it.
5:46 am on May 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I checked again today and the links are back to normal. I guess Google was able to correct it somehow. Finally a break from Google.
6:17 am on May 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How did they manage this

I'm still trying to figure what who did. Or, uhm, who did what. In the context of a Google search, what does "redirect" mean? Obviously your server wasn't hacked-- let alone Google's, haha-- and that's the only place a true redirect could have happened. Was Google giving some other site credit for all your images?
6:20 am on May 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The only time that I have seen Google results redirect like that was when a virus had managed to get through onto my own PC.
7:05 am on May 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I was initially thinking that also about the virus, but it's gone today.
It could have been a server hack, which was later corrected, or Google giving the spam site credit for the images, then changing it back. Another scenario which seems possible especially with the timing is that by blocking the hot linking it somehow stopped the re-direction of the image links.

Redirect means when you hovered over the image the spam site URL would pop up. When you clicked on the image it would enlarge in Google images and have the article name (page title) listed, but when you clicked on it it does to the spam site.

I checked the spam site today and the images are all gone. I uploaded an .htaccess file to prevent hot linking which worked to block the images from their site.
5:43 pm on May 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Redirect means when you hovered over the image the spam site URL would pop up.

Ah, OK, so that's not a redirect. It's google misattributing the image source.
12:52 pm on May 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I probably shouldn't let this cat out of the bag, but...
I have a page that ranks number 1 for its keywords in both search and images. The first two images are definitely mine. But ...
I have a two word text link on this page to an image on a Sears server. The image is NOT hot linked, not on my page at all. Google images gives my site full attribution for this image. If you hover over this Sears image in Google image results the link shown is to my page. If you click the image, Google shows the image, and the Visit Page link is to my page, and only the view image link is attributed, and goes, to the Sears image.
It has been this way for years, I don't understand why, and I think I have a couple other pages that demonstrate this quirk.
I've never tried to intentionally take advantage of this, Google really has a big bug, but I'm not complaining.
I'd call this a hijacking, but it's not intentional and serves my visitor, and Sears, well, actually.

I will be interested to see if this "problem" goes away in a few months.
1:54 pm on May 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Bumpski what's on the page the Sears link is being directed to. Is it an ecommerce type page, article, blog etc?
3:38 pm on May 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I will be interested to see if this "problem" goes away in a few months.


I doubt it will change since I have images that I serve from a different image holding domain, example 1, and they are shown on another of my domains, example 2.

I allow hotlinking of my own images in my .htaccess file to my own domains plus GooBingYah for image ranking purposes, obviously Sears is allowing hotlinking to ANY domain and unless they change that it will continue.
11:19 am on May 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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13Cube13
It's not a page, it's simply an image, in this case a .jpg file on a Sears server.

RedBar
While I agree Sears is probably allowing hotlinking, in the case I describe there is no hotlink, the image does not appear on my page, there is only a text link directly to the jpg file on a Sears server <a href=...>. So I am not abusing Sear's bandwidth in any way, in fact I'm freely handing my visitor over to them! But Google, and only Google, makes it appear as if this is my image. I think of this as a bug.

As far as I can see this allows any site to hijack another site's images, in the Google image results, just by placing a text link directly to the image file.

The funniest thing Google has allowed in the past (perhaps) ?
Google cache's copies of images from everyone's sites; I have had other sites hotlink to Google's cached copies of my images! I was really surprised to find Google allowed hotlinking to their own image cache! This really was copyright infringement.
5:27 pm on May 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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have had other sites hotlink to Google's cached copies of my images!


Yep, I had a huge problem with that at one time and especially so from myspace sites, I had one black image, yep a simple black image, that at its worst over a 3-4 months period was being used 100,000 times a day...I rapidly learnt how to prevent hotlinking etc.
12:48 am on May 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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bumpski wrote:
It's not a page, it's simply an image, in this case a .jpg file on a Sears server.

bumpski -- That could explain why Google Images links to your page instead of a Sears page, because maybe there is no Sears page.
2:13 pm on May 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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bumpski -- That could explain why Google Images links to your page instead of a Sears page, because maybe there is no Sears page.


Good point! The Sears pages involved are probably all dynamic and not likely indexed by Google.

Oops, I'm wrong Google has indexed the page containing the image although nowadays it appears to have a slightly different path. Don't know if I want to look much further. One could take credit for MANY images the way Google images applies attribution.
10:23 am on May 29, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It happened again from another similar site today. Also many other images next to mine compromised by same site. Some images/domains never seem to get compromised however. I was able to get them off my images. What I did:

Added their domain ip to .htaccess file to deny.

Changed FTP password as a precaution (did not find any suspicious php files uploaded).

Looks like denying their ip is what did it.