Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
5 Simple Steps to Protect your Digital Downloads > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

5 Simple Steps to Protect your Digital Downloads

A couple of days ago, I was searching for a popular eBook online.

Now I'm not going to tell you the name of this eBook for reasons you'll understand in the next few minutes.

Okay, so here I was, opening Google, entering the name of the eBook - clicking search, and checking through the first few pages of search results.

-> Forward to Page 5 of Google

I saw a link that looked like a PDF document.

Right click -> open in new window

There, in full glory, was the eBook I was searching for!

The complete eBook, mind you, not a trial or demo - sitting there for the world to download.

And this is a product that sells for over $25 online!!

Obviously I'm not going to tell you the name of the eBook because it would not be fair to the reseller.

But it just made me realise that one of the reasons digital theft is so prevalent is simply because... its so EASY!

Don't get me wrong. I don't condone theft of any kind - digital or otherwise.

But would YOU shell out $25 for a product that everyone can 'legally' download off the 5th page of Google?

Most people would just shrug their shoulders, hit the save button and thank their lucky stars.

Result: The opposite of $ KA-CHING $ for the sellers

One of the problems with selling digital products online is that it is so SIMPLE to do. So now everyone and their grandmother wants to do it.

But most newbies have no idea that it requires only a few simple steps to ensure a moderate degree of security for your downloads.

So here I've outlined the five most BASIC security steps That anyone selling digital products online must take.

These will take you only a few minutes to do, and you do not need any special software or programming knowledge.


The biggest problem arises when sellers store their downloads as PDF documents, as in my experience above.

Now you should know that Google, Altavista and many other search engines can read and list PDF files.

While this may not be a problem for those adding content to their sites in the form of PDF newsletters and reports, it also means that you must never store a product you want to SELL as a PDF file (unless it is in a password- protected folder).

It gets worse. Google also converts your PDF files into HTML documents. So ordinary browsers not only have access to your PDF file, but - horror of horrors - they can download your SOURCE FILE as well!!

The next logical step is for them to customize it with their own links, compile it and sell it or give it away.

Result: The opposite of $ KA-CHING $ for the sellers ...AND the author.

A simple way of keeping your files out of the reach of spiders is to upload them as a zip file. Search engines cannot look inside zip files (yet) and list their contents.


You MUST have an index.html file in EVERY folder. It acts like a curtain that keeps your files away from prying eyes.

A folder without an index file is like a house without walls. Everyone can enter and help themselves to the valuables.

The 'index.htm' file is the default file that opens when you click on the link here -

If you don't create an index.htm or index.html file, you'd be allowing everyone to directly access the root directory of the folder where you store your downloads.

Here is a folder I uploaded to show you what happens when you DON'T have an index file.

As you can see, all the files stored in it are clearly visible and ready to download.

And yes, feel free to help yourself - I won't accuse you of stealing :-)


You can use a simple script to redirect peeping Toms back to your home page.

Here's the easiest way to do it using what it called a "meta refresh tag." Add it between the Header tags like this.

<head> <META HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" content="0;URL="> </head>

< with <
> with >
" with "

Just replace my URL with your own in the example above and paste it into the head of your document (before your text).

You can see how it works by clicking on the test folder here.

Now even though you click on the folder URL, you will be sent to my home page.


To prevent search engine spiders from reading and listing the download pages that link to your eBooks add the tag below in the head of the document.

This "Robot" tag tells the spider that this page is not to be spidered or indexed. As a result it should never show up on a search.



To prevent unscrupulous people from posting your download links on forums or message boards, change the folder or file name where you store them from time to time, even if it means having to change the download links in your merchant account.

Using these methods will give you a good degree of satisfaction, knowing that you have taken the most basic steps to protect your digital valuables - and at absolutely no cost to you.

If you want greater security and more information on plugging the security loopholes in your website, check out a selection of digital download protection tools.

Copyright © 2003 Priya Shah

Priya Shah is the author of the search engine optimization guide, Number One In Your Niche and edits the newsletters Be a Whiz at eBiz! and The Glutathione Report

In The News:


Pensacola Interstate Fair remains confident in security measures after anonymous complaint
One of the private security companies that the Pensacola Interstate Fair hired to work the fairgrounds were removed over the weekend after someone filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "Just wanted to ...
Security company at fair told they can't work after anonymous complaint with statePensacola News Journal

all 5 news articles »

BBC News

Australia tightens security checks on airport staff
BBC News
Workers at Australia's major airports will face additional screening measures as part of a security crackdown. The tighter controls come after authorities foiled an alleged terror plot to bring down a plane leaving Sydney Airport in July. Australian ...
Australia to tighten airport security further after foiled attackReuters
Australian airport security rules target baggage handlersDeutsche Welle
Nick Xenophon says Coalition's airport security crackdown 'a joke'The Guardian
ABC Online -The Sydney Morning Herald -Huffington Post Australia
all 20 news articles »

Fox News

Bowe Bergdahl deal compromised US national security and President Obama should be held accountable
Fox News
With this exchange and the elevation of Bergdahl's rank, the president compromised national security knowingly and willfully. Although Bergdahl will not receive capital punishment when his sentence is determined, he probably should be tried as a ...
Bowe Bergdahl: the homecoming from hell, world exclusive interviewThe Times
Deserter Bergdahl says Taliban more 'honest' than US ArmyFox News

all 60 news articles »

Washington Post

The case against special judicial deference in immigration and national security cases
Washington Post
One of the issues at stake in the ongoing litigation over President Trump's travel ban executive orders is the extent to which judges should give special deference to the president in cases involving immigration and national security. The ...

New York Times

Militants Kill Egyptian Security Forces in Devastating Ambush
New York Times
CAIRO — Militants carried out a devastating ambush on a convoy of Egyptian police and security officials deep inside the western desert late Friday in the deadliest such attack in years, security officials said on Saturday. At least 59 Egyptian police ...
Is Egypt's security crackdown working?
UN Security Council strongly condemns terrorist attack in EgyptUN News Centre
Militants kill Egyptian security forces in desert shoot-outBBC News
Financial Times
all 347 news articles »

Chicago Sun-Times

Four arrested in Gary security guard shooting
Chicago Tribune
Four people were arrested after the early Saturday morning shooting of a security guard at a business in the 5900 block of Melton Road in Gary, officials say. Gary Police were dispatched to the business just before 3 a.m. Saturday where they discovered ...
4 charged in shooting of Gary nightclub security guardChicago Sun-Times

all 4 news articles »

Shooting of MetroBus driver spurs union to demand better security
The Oct. 14 shooting of a MetroBus driver in St. Louis has spurred his union to demand better bus security, adding pressure on an agency already dealing with public concern over crime on the MetroLink light rail line. “We want security to be beefed up ...

Washington Examiner

Cops cut NFL security in protest of national anthem kneeling at Miami Dolphins game
Washington Examiner
Florida police officers upset by NFL players kneeling during the national anthem responded by reducing the amount of security Sunday at a Miami Dolphins game. The number of off-duty officers working the event was about a third less than usual, Dade ...

and more »

Wall Street Journal

Hunt for Yield Fuels Boom in Another Complex, Risky Security
Wall Street Journal
Investors hungry for returns are piling back into securities once tarnished by the financial crisis. Complex structured investments developed a bad reputation during the credit crunch. Ten years later, investors seeking yield are overcoming their ...

and more »

The Intercept

“Bloodlines” Explores the Turf Wars Inside the US Border Security Complex
The Intercept
The least respected agents in the building, del Bosque notes, belong to Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) wing. The FBI, she adds, is “somewhere in the middle” of the pecking order, sharing a floor with HSI.

Google News

Dont Get Hacked - A Guide to Protecting Your Business from Thieves

You've seen it in the news - 40 million credit... Read More

7 Ways to Spot a PayPal Scam E-Mail

Paypal is a great site and is used by many... Read More

How To Give Away Your Personal Information

Identity Theft and Your Personal Information -------------------------------------------- Identity theft is... Read More

5 Tips For An Unbreakable Password

Despite the current wave of identity theft and corporate security... Read More

Web and Computer Security

Well, if that would have been said to me by... Read More

How To Be Your Own Secret Service Agency

So you want to know who your kids are chatting... Read More

Watching the Watchers: Detection and Removal of Spyware

If spyware were a person and he set himself up... Read More

The Saga of the Annoying Adware

When we think of adware, what comes to mind are... Read More

Why you Must Secure your Digital Product and Thank You Web Page

A couple of years back, I paid my dues the... Read More

Protect Your Little Black Book

The movie Little Black Book features a young woman, Stacy,... Read More

Parental Control - Dangers To Your Child Online & Internet Child Safety Tips

Did you know...? 1 in 5 children who use computer... Read More

Top Five Spyware Fighting Tips

Spyware and adware are becoming major problems for online surfers... Read More

Criminals are Fishing For Your Identity

What is Phishing? In a typical Phishing attack, a criminal... Read More

Spyware Removal

Spyware SolutionProbably Today's Biggest Computer Problem. You Suffer Without Knowing... Read More

Phishing-Based Scams: A Couple of New Ones

Phishing in its "classic" variant is relatively well-known. Actually, 43.4... Read More

Information Security for E-businessmen: Just a Couple of Ideas

If you constantly deal with bank or electronic accounts, it... Read More

Remove Rogue Desktop Icons Created By Spyware

If you have used a Windows machine for a while,... Read More

Email Hoaxes, Urban Legends, Scams, Spams, And Other CyberJunk

The trash folder in my main inbox hit 4000 today.... Read More

Reducing Fraudulent Transations ? 5 Simple Ways To Protect Yourself

The money being spent online is steadily growing. With billions... Read More

Types Of Computer Infections

Computer infections can be broken up into 4 main categories... Read More

The Attack of the Advertiser - Spy Mother Spy

The menacing campaigns that drive the corporate spyware and adware... Read More

Delete Cookies: New-Age Diet or Common Sense Internet Security?

No, this article isn't about some new, lose-20-pounds-in-a-week, certified-by-some-tan-Southern-California-doctor diet.... Read More

Do You Know What your Kids Are Doing Online?

It's a sad statistic, but hundreds of unsuspecting kids are... Read More

Dont Fall Victim to Internet Fraud-10 Tips for Safer Surfing

The Internet offers a global marketplace for consumers and businesses.... Read More

How To Avoid Hackers From Destroying Your Site?

Recently, my site and other internet accounts ( )... Read More