"Hello, Is This the Writing Center?": Illicit Paper Mill Activity and the Compromised Recomposition of College and University Websites

Dec 1, 2021·
Jim Ridolfo
William Hart-Davidson
Chris A. Lindgren
Chris A. Lindgren
· 0 min read
Visualized network results of the paper mill attacks, showing which papermills attacked which universities/colleges.
By analyzing Google search engine results, we identified search optimization campaigns designed, first and foremost, to drive traffic from compromised college and university websites to paper mills as a means of deceiving students. Results indicate 9 types of attacks that targeted students, in particular, which solicits them to purchase papers to submit for their coursework. We hope this research helps educators and students create the best environment for learning, so we see an opportunity to teach students to identify and understand these predatory practices as a component of their education. Additionally, we hope it aids college and university web administrators in maintaining and securing their respective websites.
Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy
Chris A. Lindgren
Assistant Professor of Technical Communication
My research interests include the rhetorics of data science work, as well as supporting community-engaged and self-determined Indigenous Data Sovereignty.