Celebrating 20 years online :)
Web Dev + WordPress + Security

404 Fix: Block Nuisance Requests for Non-Existent Files

[ Han Solo shutting up C-3PO in Empire Strikes Back ]

As I’ve written before, blocking nuisance requests can help save you money by cutting down on wasted server resources, memory, and so forth. It also saves you time, as your server access and error logs won’t be full of nuisance request spam. So you will have more resources and time for things that matter, like running your business, helping customers, improving code, etc. So to continue the proud tradition of blocking malicious traffic, this post builds upon previous blocking techniques […] Continue reading »

Examples of Nested Encoding

Typically malicious scans use some sort of encoding to obscure their payloads. For example, instead of injecting a literal script, the attacker will run it through a PHP encoding function such as base64_encode(), utf8_encode(), or urlencode(). So if and when you need to decode some discovered payload, you can use whichever decoding function will do the job. For example, base64_decode(), utf8_decode(), or urldecode(). Sounds straightforward, but let’s dig a little deeper.. Continue reading »

Get Random with PHP

This tutorial explains numerous ways to get random items via PHP: numbers, strings, passwords, nonces, images, and more. I use these techniques in various projects, and want to round them all up in one place for easy reference. I’ll be updating this post with additional techniques as I get them. Continue reading »

.htaccess Cleanup

Once again I am cleaning up my sites’ .htaccess files. I do this from time to time to remove old redirects, refresh blacklists, and update security and SEO-related directives. It’s tedious work, but the performance and security benefits make it all worthwhile. This post shares some of the techniques that were added, removed, or replaced from .htaccess, and explains the reasoning behind each decision. I do this for the sake of reference, and hopefully it will give you some ideas […] Continue reading »

Stop User Enumeration in WordPress

[User Enumeration ]

This tutorial explains how to block user-enumeration scans in WordPress. As explained in greater depth here, user enumeration happens when some malicious script scans a WordPress site for user data by requesting numerical user IDs. For example, requests for author=1 through some number, say, author=1000, may reveal the usernames for all associated users. With a simple enumeration script, an attacker can scan your site and obtain a list of login names in a matter of seconds. Continue reading »

Stop RSSing.com from Framing Your Content

[ RSSing.com Removal Request or Whatever ]

This quick post explains how to stop the notorious site scrapers, RSSing.com, from stealing your content. In fact, this technique can be used to stop virtually any site that uses HTML frames to scrape your pages. Once again, the solution is one line of .htaccess to the rescue. Continue reading »

Use Strong Usernames for Better Security

[ Two Passwords = Two Bad ]

Image courtesy of eChunks.com Here is a quick security tip for people using popular apps on the Web. That is, apps like WordPress that may be widely used and targeted by bad actors and/or automated scripts. It’s all about adding another layer of security by hardening admin-level usernames.. Every now and then, I get an email letting me know that someone has requested a password reset for one of my admin-level WordPress accounts. Usually, the email notifications are sent directly […] Continue reading »

What to do when your site gets hacked

HSI: Hacked Site Investigation

Over the years, my sites have been hacked numerous times. Each hacking event was somewhat of a miserable experience at first, but ultimately educational and even enlightening. I’m not going to say that getting hacked was the best thing that ever happened to me, but it certainly wasn’t the end of the world. In this post, I want to share some important steps to take and things to keep in mind if and when you discover that your site has […] 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 »

Protect Against Malicious POST Requests

[ Protect yourself ]

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 »

(Please) Stop Using Unsafe Characters in URLs

Just as there are specifications for designing with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, there are specifications for working with URIs/URLs. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) clearly defines these specifications in RFC 3986: Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax. Within that document, there are guidelines regarding which characters may be used safely within URIs. This post summarizes the information, and encourages developers to understand and implement accordingly. Continue reading »

expose_php, Easter Eggs, and .htaccess

[ Screenshot: PHP Logo ]

A reader recently brought to my attention a reported vulnerability on servers running PHP. It’s been known about for eons, but it’s new to me and it involves easter eggs in PHP so I thought it would be fun to share a quick post about what it is and how to prevent leakage of sensitive information about your server. It only takes a moment to disable the easter-egg information, should you decide to do so. Continue reading »

PayPal Phishing Spam

[ PayPal Phishing Spam Email ]

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 »

Huge Collection of Code Snippets: HTAccess, PHP, WordPress, jQuery, HTML, CSS

[ WP Cron HTTP Auth ]

Please excuse this self-serving, miscellaneous post, but I’ve just got to purge all of these code snippets and scraps collected over the years. Whenever I update this site, I place any removed/unused code snippets into a giant note file for future reference, just in case. There’s all sorts of different types of code and snippets that just keep growing and growing and.. and finally it gets to a point where I just need to dump everything and start fresh. Welcome […] Continue reading »

Upload Large Files or Die Trying

[ Screenshot: Editable and non-editable file permissions in Plesk ]

I recently spent some time wrestling with various e-commerce/shopping-cart/membership plugins. One of them was of course the popular WP e-Commerce plugin, which uses a directory named “downloadables” to store your precious goods. I had some large files that needed to go into this folder, but the server’s upload limit stopped me from using the plugin’s built-in file uploader to do so. Continue reading »

HTTP Headers for ZIP File Downloads

You know when you you’re working on a project and get stuck on something, so you scour the Web for solutions only to find that everyone else seems to be experiencing the exact same thing. Then, after many hours trying everything possible, you finally stumble onto something that seems to work. This time, the project was setting up a secure downloads area for Digging into WordPress. And when I finally discovered a solution, I told myself that it was definitely […] Continue reading »

Welcome
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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