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

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 Lindgren
Chris Lindgren
Professor of Technical Communication and Data Visualization

My research interests include the relations created when writing code and theorizing the digital cultural rhetorics of white supremacy in the United States.