How To Detect A Loss

In Part I of this series on How To Protect Your Property Online, we talked about the value of signing your files with digital signatures before posting them on the Internet. In Part II, we talked about two different digital signature solutions you might find useful. In this post, Part III, we’ll talk about how to detect a loss.

Cybercrime — Front and Center in the Media These Days

Cybercrime and online misbehavior is the talk of the town these days. Actually, it’s been that way for 30-years. It’s taken a while for the media to comprehend the topic and figure out how to tell the stories.

Facebook is under attack for not controlling how contractors like Cambridge Analytica handle users profile data. Some in the media report the online giant needs to do more to prevent the web scraping of users profile data.

As usual, the media is mixing and matching cyber concepts incorrectly. The control of contractor access to and handling of data can be managed with online security access controls, contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and other security management approaches.

As we’ve seen in Part I of this series, web scraping goes on 24-hours a day via bots. Much of it is established activity by entities like Google indexing the web. But even Google is under constant attack for what many see as invasions of privacy.

The truth of the matter is there is little website operators — even cyber giants like Facebook — can do to stop web scraping, intrusions, and theft. That’s because most online resources are inherently public and unencrypted. Firewalls, password protected directories, and site configuration files are usually what separates content such as user profiles from prying eyes or the manipulation by a hacker.

Think about it. If Facebook can’t stop these problems, how can you, the small time website operator do so? The answer is, you can’t. All you can do is make it harder for the bad guys. Here’s what else can you can do.

The First Rule of Cyberspace Security

The first rule of cybersecurity is this: what you reach out and touch online touches you back. It’s a simple concept. When you hit the enter key on your keyboard, your electronic transmissions go out on the Internet. These are digital footprints in the cyber-sand. You are not anonymous.

Don’t post anything online you wouldn’t mind seeing on the landing page of a mass media site like the New York Times.

And the first rule of reputation management in cyberspace is this: get your story out there the way you want it. It will stand as your first line of defense if someone purloins your data or misrepresents you.

Getting your story out there, in part, means tagging content you publish. In Parts I and II this series we advocate using digital signatures to tag your online content. In this post, Part III, we share some tips on how to find out if your public files are re-used without attribution to you or misused.

Tools To Detect Content Theft


Copyscape is a self-service website. Invoke the URL for their site and type in the URL for your website in the search box on their homepage. It’s that easy.

Copyscape will search the world wide web for copies of your website content on the ‘Net. The search service is free. Premium services include a plagiarism checker to ensure content creators do not submit duplicate content to your site.

Google Alerts

You can create your own alert with Google to find out if your content is in use elsewhere. Google Alerts puts you in charge of creating a search string you use to find your content. Simply type in your search string. Then specify the language, frequency of reports, sources to check (you can leave it at “automatic” if you wish), where you want alerts sent, and more, and you're done. You’ll receive alerts on the schedule you specify.

There are other tools available on the Internet. Some are free, most are fee-for-service tools. And there's plenty of tools for tech-savvy users. We mention these two approaches above because they are easy for all to use.

For Website Owners

If you run a website, you can run security plugins to keep track of access to your site and how outside entities are interrogating your site. Wordfence is a terrific firewall software for WordPress sites. And iThemes Security Pro offers many features that will alert you to suspicious activity. Both maintain logs of transactions with your site that can be invaluable when you need to identify and track down suspicious activity.

And as we’ve noted earlier, Digiprove not only signs all files on your site and stores signature files in their databases, but they also offer select and click or drag and click copy protection. Every time someone attempts to copy your site content, you’ll get a notice like that below.

Digiprove's Copyright Proof plugin detected the following event:
A user right-clicked, page=travel-blog/
IP address:
You are receiving this email because of your WordPress Copyright Proof settings for the site
You can visit your Digiprove account by logging in at (your user id is xx).

In fact, since the publication of Part I of this series, we’ve had dozens of attempts to long copy contents from this website. All were denied.

In Part IV of this series, we’ll talk about what you can do if you find out your content has been taken and misused online.

Until then, practice safe hex in cyberspace.


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Karla & Tom — Editors, RoverTreks
Karla is the Chief Executive Officer of RoverTreks.Com. She is a member of the bar in Georgia and Texas, with 30-years of public sector executive experience and 10-years as an Adjunct Professor teaching Technology Law and Enforcement, Cyber Civil Litigation, and Cyber Business Law courses at the graduate school level. She is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. Writer, futurist, and NASA Advanced Technology Programs Executive (ret.), Tom Talleur connects the past, present and future to inspire audiences. His writings and commentary in print, radio and television media span an array of topics, including technology security, history, culture, space, travel, public policy, law, and the future. He's is the Managing Editor of RoverTreks, and member of various travel journalist associations. Media appearances: CNN, CNBC, ABC, MSNBC, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, The National Law Journal, Decision Management (Ireland), Fortune Magazine,, ZDNet News, USA Today, e-BUSINESS Advisor magazine, eWEEK, CIO magazine, CFO magazine, Accounting Today, Government Executive Magazine, Time, The San Francisco Chronicle, Matrix, The Chronicle for Higher Education, Newsbits, Information Security News, Business 2.0 and Big Blend Radio.


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