Security is one of the most important things that everyone in the modern age should pay attention to. It’s easy to steal content online, which is a big deal especially if your stolen content gets published by a competing website. Stolen content can lead to lower SEO rankings or low traffic.
However, there are things you can do to avoid being a victim of content theft. Here are ways on how to protect your website from image and content theft.
Level One: Security Measures EVERY Website Should Have
When creating a website, one of the things you should improve on is to have countermeasures to protect from web scraping tools to avoid your content from getting stolen. Every website should have basic things to ensure security. The following are just some of the things you need to have on your website to protect your creation.
Copyright is applied even if your website does not have a copyright notice. You automatically have copyright as long as you created the content, you legally own it. Registering the copyright is only done if you think someone else will claim your work as theirs in the future. Nevertheless, having a copyright notice can prevent common people from downloading content from your website. A reminder that everything on your website is copyrighted can make them think twice about downloading for their personal use.
For years now, watermarks have been a must-have when publishing images online. But aside from image files such as JPEG, PNG, and BMP files, watermarks can also be added to anything such as PDF or video files. This is a quick technique of preventing ownership over your content if anyone decides to reupload it. Anyone who sees the watermark can report to you that your content got stolen by other people.
DMCA is a copyright law that protects the interest of people who create and upload their content online. As mentioned before, your content is already protected under copyright law, but adding a DMCA badge can help you take down websites that copy your content. There are plugins available on popular hosting websites such as WordPress. They are easy to install and extremely useful when your content gets stolen.
Level Two: Security Measures to Prevent Image and Content Theft
For some thieves, watermarks won’t stop them from downloading your images or content. Some are even so dedicated that they intentionally remove watermarks just to reuse your image on their website. Luckily, there are more things you can do to avoid having your content stolen.
Disable Right Click
Anyone knows that there’s a lot of things you can do with a simple right-click on a website. One can view the page source which contains the HTML and possibly, some sensitive data you might want to hide from the public. Aside from that, it’s also easy to copy an image just by simply downloading it with a simple right-click.
Disable Drag and Drop
Another way to copy an image is by simply dragging the image and dropping it to a destination app such as text or image editors. This was done to make it easier for users to copy the necessary information they’ve found online. However, this method also allows content thieves to copy your images and content and use them however they want. With simple plugins, you can actually disable drag and drop on your website. This can apply to both images and highlighted texts on your website.
Hotlinking is a method some people use to publish a part of your website on their own without downloading anything from your page. This can let them bypass any security measures mentioned before. By disabling hotlinks, other people won’t easily get access to your website.
Disabling Keyboard Shortcuts
With simple Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V keyboard commands, someone can easily get your text content. However, some plugins allow you to disable these commands and avoid your content from easily getting stolen. There are tools such as WordPress Content Copy Protection that do this while also disabling other functions such as drag and drop.
Level Three: Finding Stolen Images and Content
While you may have proper security measures installed on your website, there’s still a chance that some savvy hacker can get past everything and still download your content. Security professionals are continuously inventing technology and countermeasures against these thieves, but these cybercriminals are also improving their methods and techniques. In any case, here are the things you should do if you suspect your content got stolen.
Reverse Image Search
The single most effective way of ensuring that your images aren’t stolen is by conducting a reverse image search once in a while. Google’s algorithm allows you to reverse image search even though the stolen images are in different image dimensions.
This technique even works for similar images that are not the exact copy of your image. By conducting this method every now and then, you can find any websites that are using your images without your permission.
Aside from searching the web for stolen images, you can also check if any of the content or articles you’ve written are stolen. With plagiarism checkers available online, you can copy and paste any portion of your article and see if it appears anywhere else aside from your website.
There are free websites that let you check for plagiarized content. You can also sign up on Grammarly’s premium services that allow you to check which and how much of your content is copied by other websites.
There are tools such as Tynt Insight that notify you when somebody is suspected of stealing your content. It is an automated process and you don’t have to manually do the previous two methods when checking for things that are already on your website.
Image and content theft are two of the most prevalent crimes in the cyberworld. While it’s not usually a big deal in terms of security measures, you should still enforce a strategy to avoid your content from being copied.