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Web Dev + WordPress + Security

Testing HTTP Requests

[ WP Plugin: Core Control ]

Just a quick post with some tips for troubleshooting and testing HTTP requests. For example, if you have a plugin that sends requests behind the scenes via Ajax or cURL or whatever, it’s nice to have a way to view request details such as headers, the response, and everything in between. This article is aimed primarily at WordPress users, but contains more general tips and tricks as well. Continue reading »

2014 Micro Blacklist

[ 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

[ 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 »

(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 »

Case-Insensitive RedirectMatch

Cool trick that you may not have known about.. it’s possible to get case-insensitive matching with the powerful RedirectMatch directive. Normally, you would just write your redirect as something like this: 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 »

Optimizing WordPress Permalinks with htaccess

[ Optimizing WordPress Permalinks with htaccess ]

Okay, so Summer’s over, kids are back in school, and I’m finding all sorts of free time to continue writing and posting. One of my Summer projects involved updating & optimizing one of my old project sites, DeadLetterArt.com. It was basically a huge clean-up session that included lots of content consolidation and permalink restructuring. So that’s the topic of this post, how to use htaccess to optimize WordPress permalinks. I’ll go through some htaccess techniques and explain how they can […] 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 »

Humans.txt

[ Screenshot: Tweets about humanstxt.org ]

One thing I love about Twitter is the instant feedback. For the past few weeks I’ve been seeing lots of 404 requests like this: https://perishablepress.com/humans.txt https://perishablepress.com/humans.txt https://perishablepress.com/humans.txt At first I thought it was some skript kiddie getting creative, you know as a play on the robots.txt file, which is also located in the root of many websites. So it seemed interesting enough to tweet about: Continue reading »

10 Characters for Your WordPress Blacklist

[ Screenshot: Comment Spam in Moderation ]

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

[ 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 »

Best Method for Email Obfuscation?

Awhile ago, Silvan Mühlemann conducted a 1.5 year experiment whereby different approaches to email obfuscation were tested for effectiveness. Nine different methods were implemented, with each test account receiving anywhere from 1800 to zero spam emails. Here is an excerpt from the article: When displaying an e-mail address on a website you obviously want to obfuscate it to avoid it getting harvested by spammers. But which obfuscation method is the best one? I drove a test to find out. After […] Continue reading »

2010 IP Blacklist

Over the course of each year, I blacklist a considerable number of individual IP addresses. Every day, Perishable Press is hit with countless numbers of spammers, scrapers, crackers and all sorts of other hapless turds. Weekly examinations of my site’s error logs enable me to filter through the chaff and cherry-pick only the most heinous, nefarious attackers for blacklisting. Minor offenses are generally dismissed, but the evil bastards that insist on wasting resources running redundant automated scripts are immediately investigated […] Continue reading »

htaccess Redirect to Maintenance Page

Redirecting visitors to a maintenance page or other temporary page is an essential tool to have in your tool belt. Using HTAccess, redirecting visitors to a temporary maintenance page is simple and effective. All you need to redirect your visitors is the following code placed in your site’s root HTAccess: # MAINTENANCE-PAGE REDIRECT <ifmodule mod_rewrite.c> RewriteEngine on RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !^123\.456\.789\.000 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/maintenance.html$ [NC] RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !\.(jpe?g?|png|gif) [NC] RewriteRule .* /maintenance.html [R=302,L] </ifmodule> That is the official copy-&-paste goodness right […] 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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