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Web Dev + WordPress + Security
Tag: spam
52 posts

Block Random String Comment Spam

Recently WordPress sites have been getting hammered with random-string comment spam. The attackers are clever, using random text strings for every vector except the payload, which usually is the URL used for the comment’s Name link. But for these weird comment spams, the apparent payload is the email address. It’s the only part of the comment that’s not made up of random gibberish. Continue reading »

Domain-Based, Site Specific Email Addresses FTW

I use domain-based emails for 99% of my email activity. The other 1% is comprised of assorted 3rd-party email services and temporary slash disposable addresses (like for testing purposes and one-off sign-ups, etc.). I can tell you whole-heartedly based on 20+ years working online that domain-based email is THE WAY to go. Continue reading »

Target User Agents and Reduce Spam via robots.txt

Your website’s robots.txt file probably contains some rules that tell compliant search engines and other bots which pages they can visit, and which are not allowed, etc. In most of the robots.txt files that I’ve looked at, all of the Allow and Disallow rules are applied to all user agents. This is done with the wildcard operator, which is written as an asterisk *, like this: User-agent: * This site’s robots.txt file provides a typical example. All of the allow/disallow […] Continue reading »

Ultimate Comment Blacklist for WordPress: How to Stop Spam Without Plugins

How do YOU stop comment spam? If you’re like a lot of WordPress users, you just grab another plugin or two and call it good. I mean after all, plugins like Akismet work great at stopping spam. The only downside is that, well, you’re relying on another plugin. And that’s fine for folks who just wanna “get ’er done”, although each active plugin requires additional maintenance and server resources. Continue reading »

Automatic IP Blacklist

Recently a reader going by the name of Rock Star sent me a cool little PHP script that automatically updates your site’s .htaccess with a current list of bad IP addresses. This is useful because it gives you better “real time” protection against attacks and malicious requests. This tutorial shares the code and explains how to implement in two easy steps. Continue reading »

Lynda.com Course: Developing Secure WordPress Sites

After months of preparation and production, my new video course on developing secure WordPress sites is now available at Lynda.com. This is my second video course on securing WordPress; the first one was originally launched in 2011 and remained in Lynda’s library for over five years. I received a lot of great feedback on the course, and so I jumped on the opportunity to do another one. If there is one thing that I enjoy doing, it’s helping people with […] Continue reading »

WordPress Plugin: Blackhole for Bad Bots

Image Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. Update: Pro version now available! Check out Blackhole Pro » Finally translated my Blackhole Spider Trap into a FREE WordPress plugin. It’s fun, fast, flexible, and works silently behind the scenes to protect your WordPress-powered site from malicious bots. Here are some of the features: Continue reading »

Block revslider Scans

One of the most annoying, persistent scans I’ve seen in a long time are those hunting for the revslider vulnerability. In the five or so months since the exploit was discovered, many sites have been compromised. And based on what I’ve been seeing in my traffic logs, the risk is far from over. Apparently every 2-bit script kiddie and their pet hamster wants a piece of the “revslider action”. Continue reading »

Integrating Google No Captcha reCaptcha In WordPress Forms

In this tutorial you will learn how to integrate Google’s new reCatcha model in WordPress Login, Comment, Registration and Lost Password Forms. Continue reading »

Protect Against Malicious POST Requests

Whether you like it or not, there are scripts and bots out there hammering away at your sites with endless HTTP “POST” requests. POST requests are sort of the opposite of GET requests. Instead of getting some resource or file from the server, data is being posted or sent to it. To illustrate, normal surfing around the Web involves your browser making series of GET requests for all the resources required for each web page. HTML, JavaScript, CSS, images, et […] Continue reading »

2014 Micro Blacklist

Over the past several months, I’ve assembled a “micro” blacklist to keep some recent threats at bay. Eventually, this will be integrated into the next nG Blacklist, but for now I just wanted to post and share with anyone else who is actively monitoring their server logs and aware of the recent spike in malicious activity. Continue reading »

2013 User Agent Blacklist

The 2013 User Agent Blacklist blocks hundreds of the worst bots while ensuring open-access for normal traffic, major search engines (Google, Bing, et al), good browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, et al), and everyone else. Compared to blocking threats by IP, blocking by user-agent is more effective as a general security strategy. Although it’s trivial to spoof any user agent, many bad requests continue to report user-agent strings that are known to be associated with malicious activity. For example, the notorious […] Continue reading »

PayPal Phishing Spam

Just a heads up to anyone else getting the occasional PayPal phishing spam.. Usually it’s pretty easy to spot one of those crafty phishing emails, just hover over any links before clicking to view the real URL in the status bar. You know, the link says something like, “click here to restore your PayPal account,” but you know that’s garbage and could easily prove it by checking the actual link URL, which is usually something completely bonkers, like: Continue reading »

Sort of Turning Off Comments

Over the course of the past year or so, the quality of comments on posts here at Perishable Press has really deteriorated, to the point that I actually considered doing something that I told myself I would never do: disable comments completely. Continue reading »

10 Characters for Your WordPress Blacklist

Quick WordPress tip for easily and quietly blocking a ton of comment spam. Akismet and other programs are good at catching most spam, but every now and then a bunch of weird, foreign-language spam will sneak past the filters and post live to your site. Here’s a good example of the kind of stuff that’s easy to block: Continue reading »

2010 User-Agent Blacklist

The 2010 User-Agent Blacklist blocks hundreds of bad bots while ensuring open-access for the major search engines: Google, Bing, Ask, Yahoo, et al. Blocking bad user-agents is an effective addition to any security strategy. It works like this: your site is getting hammered by rogue bots that waste valuable server resources and bandwidth. So you grab a copy of the 2010 UA Blacklist from Perishable Press, include it in your site’s root .htaccess file, and enjoy better security and performance. […] Continue reading »

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Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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