The developer has set up a NSFW trap for sites that steal his free web game

The developer has set up a NSFW trap for sites that steal his free web game

Illustration by Aurich Lawson/Getty Images

Developer Josh Simmons came up with a crude but effective punishment for sites that steal his Sqword web game using the iframe tag. Instead of the game on the sites that stole it, a picture with an NSFW meme appears.

The free Sqword game is a simple puzzle in which you have to place letters in a 5×5 grid in order to make as many words as possible. According to Simmons, since the game launched last year, it has attracted a steady group of daily active users. He also noted that several game aggregator sites embed content from the Sqword.com site via iframes, where it is displayed surrounded by banner ads.

“It made me angrier than it should have been. Not because Sqword is a cash cow (we don’t advertise on the site and we don’t make money from it), but because it was a friendly project, something clean and intentionally free to play without ads, Simmons writes. . — It goes against my ideal as a developer: banners and pop-ups everywhere. If I create an app, I believe it should either be free or upfront about the price of a subscription or purchase. I couldn’t accept my code being monetized like this.”

Instead of taking the “mature and responsible” path of blocking external sites from using his code, Simmons added something unusual to the code. Now, if a website detects that a game is loading in an iframe, it will display goatse, an old NSFW meme. The image will be accompanied by a self-revealing message for site visitors: “I’m stealing other people’s code because I’m a complete worthless person.”

ArsTechnica notes that at the time of publication, at least a few sites failed to notice that their stolen game had been replaced by one of the most disturbing images on the Internet. Other sites noticed this change and simply replaced one stolen game with another.

Simmons points out that this case is a warning not only to thieves, but also to web developers who host external content on their site.

“If you use an iframe to display someone else’s content, even for legitimate purposes, you cannot control that content. It can change at any moment. And then instead of looking in an iframe, you might see a completely different kind of portal.”

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