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Web Dev + WordPress + Security

How to Protect Your Site Against Content Thieves (and Other Scumbags)

[ Content Thieves and Other Scumbags ]

Stolen content is the bane of every blogger who provides a publicly available RSS feed. By delivering your content via feed, you make it easy for scrapers to assimilate and re-purpose your material on their crap Adsense sites. It’s bad enough that someone would re-post your entire feed without credit, but to use it for cheap money-making schemes is about as pathetic as it gets. If you’re lucky, the bastards may leave all the links intact, so at least you […] Continue reading »

Disable Trace and Track for Better Security

The shared server on which I host Perishable Press was recently scanned by security software that revealed a significant security risk. Namely, the HTTP request methods TRACE and TRACK were found to be enabled on my webserver. The TRACE and TRACK protocols are HTTP methods used in the debugging of webserver connections. Although these methods are useful for legitimate purposes, they may compromise the security of your server by enabling cross-site scripting attacks (XST). By exploiting certain browser vulnerabilities, an […] Continue reading »

HTAccess Password-Protection Tricks

Recently a reader asked about how to password-protect a directory for every specified IP while allowing open access to everyone else. In my article, Stupid htaccess Tricks, I show how to password-protect a directory for every IP except the one specified, but not for the reverse case. In this article, I will demonstrate this technique along with a wide variety of other useful password-protection tricks, including a few from my Stupid htaccess Tricks article. Before getting into the juicy stuff, […] Continue reading »

Associate Any File with Windows Notepad in Five Seconds

[ Windows Command Prompt ]

In my article, Associate Extensionless Files with Notepad, I explain how to navigate the labyrinthine maze of Windows dialogue menus to assign Microsoft’s Notepad text editor as the opening application for files without extensions. In this post, I’ll show you how to associate any file type with any program (including Notepad) in less than five seconds. Ready? Don’t blink, you’ll miss it.. ;) Continue reading »

Secure Visitor Posting for WordPress

Normally, when visitors post a comment to your site, specific types of client data are associated with the request. Commonly, a client will provide a user agent, a referrer, and a host header. When any of these variables is absent, there is good reason to suspect foul play. For example, virtually all browsers provide some sort of user-agent name to identify themselves. Conversely, malicious scripts directly posting spam and other payloads to your site frequently operate without specifying a user […] Continue reading »

How to Take DVD/Video Screenshots on Windows

[ Windows Troubleshoot Settings ]

Taking screenshots of DVD, MPEG, AVI, and other video on Windows machines requires a couple of extra steps. A normal screenshot is easy enough to capture by pressing the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard. To capture a screenshot of video display, however, you need to disable hardware acceleration to make it work. To do this on Windows machines, go to your Desktop properties and click on the Settings tab. Click on the Advanced button and then on the Troubleshooting […] Continue reading »

Important Security Fix for WordPress

[ Screenshot: WP Default Database Error Page ]

The other day, my server crashed and Perishable Press was unable to connect to the MySQL database. Normally, when WordPress encounters a database error, it delivers a specific error message similar to the following: Continue reading »

Best Practices for Error Monitoring

Given my propensity to discuss matters involving error log data (e.g., monitoring malicious behavior, setting up error logs, and creating extensive blacklists), I am often asked about the best way to go about monitoring 404 and other types of server errors. While I consider myself to be a novice in this arena (there are far brighter people with much greater experience), I do spend a lot of time digging through log entries and analyzing data. So, when asked recently about […] Continue reading »

4G Series: The Ultimate Referrer Blacklist, Featuring Over 8000 Banned Referrers

You have seen user-agent blacklists, IP blacklists, 4G Blacklists, and everything in between. Now, in this article, for your sheer and utter amusement, I present a collection of over 8000 blacklisted referrers. Shortcut: skip the article and jump to Disclaimer and Download » Referrer Spam Sucks For the uninitiated, in teh language of teh Web, a referrer is the online resource from whence a visitor happened to arrive at your site. For example, if Johnny the Wonder Parrot was visiting the […] Continue reading »

4G Series: The Ultimate User-Agent Blacklist, Featuring Over 1200 Bad Bots

[ Image: Inverted Eclipse ]

As discussed in my recent article, Eight Ways to Blacklist with Apache’s mod_rewrite, one method of stopping spammers, scrapers, email harvesters, and malicious bots is to blacklist their associated user agents. Apache enables us to target bad user agents by testing the user-agent string against a predefined blacklist of unwanted visitors. Any bot identifying itself as one of the blacklisted agents is immediately and quietly denied access. While this certainly isn’t the most effective method of securing your site against […] Continue reading »

The Perishable Press 4G Blacklist

[ 4G Stormtrooper ]

At last! After many months of collecting data, crafting directives, and testing results, I am thrilled to announce the release of the 4G Blacklist! The 4G Blacklist is a next-generation protective firewall that secures your site against a wide range of automated attacks and other malicious activity. Continue reading »

Building the Perishable Press 4G Blacklist

[ Building the Hoover Dam, Part 1 ]

Last year, after much research and discussion, I built a concise, lightweight security strategy for Apache-powered websites. Prior to the development of this strategy, I relied on several extensive blacklists to protect my sites against malicious user agents and IP addresses. Unfortunately, these mega-lists eventually became unmanageable and ineffective. As increasing numbers of attacks hit my server, I began developing new techniques for defending against external threats. This work soon culminated in the release of a “next-generation” blacklist that works […] Continue reading »

Controlling Proxy Access with HTAccess

In my recent article on blocking proxy servers, I explain how to use HTAccess to deny site access to a wide range of proxy servers. The method works great, but some readers want to know how to allow access for specific proxy servers while denying access to as many other proxies as possible. Fortunately, the solution is as simple as adding a few lines to my original proxy-blocking method. Specifically, we may allow any requests coming from our whitelist of […] Continue reading »

Miscellaneous Code Snippets for WordPress, Windows, and Firefox

[ Miscellaneous Color Slices ]

One of the original purposes of Perishable Press involved serving as a “virtual dumpster” for all of my miscellaneous code snippets. Over time, I continued elaborating to greater degrees on the various code recipes that I was posting, until eventually those brief snippet posts evolved into complete, richly detailed articles (at least from my point of view). Now that I enjoy the luxury of writing for an incredible audience, I try to avoid posting anything that doesn’t include an accompanying […] Continue reading »

Blacklist Candidate 2008-10-19

[ Photo: Television Flashback ]

Welcome to the Perishable Press “Blacklist Candidate” series. In this post, we continue our new tradition of exposing, humiliating and banishing spammers, crackers and other worthless scumbags.. From time to time on the show, a contestant places a bid that is so absurd and so asinine that you literally laugh out loud, point at the monitor, and openly ridicule the pathetic loser. On such occasions, even the host of the show will laugh and mock the idiocy. Of course, this […] Continue reading »

I Need Linux!

[ Linux ]

Thanks to a complete (and I mean complete) collection of screenshots graciously sent in by Brent Terrazas, I have been enlightened as to my need for Linux. Looking over the screenshots, I see a great deal of variation — more so than any of the Mac or PC browsers at my disposal — in terms of how designs are rendered on various Linux-driven browsers. The obsessive-compulsive designer in me suddenly sees an incredible need for my own Linux setup — […] 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 »
Digging Into WordPress: Take your WordPress skills to the next level.
Thoughts
Working on a new book :)
LinkedIn decided to replace my highly rated video course on WP security. For a limited time the course is still available to *logged-in* users via direct URL.
I enjoy listening to original Star Trek and NG episodes while working online. After a while it feels like I’m working on the ship as part of the crew, going on adventures.
New version (2.6) of my shapeSpace starter theme now available! Always free & open source for everyone :)
Finished updating all of my books! As always, book owners can download the latest versions for FREE :)
W3C.org has a very thorough list of accessibility tools.
The more you wake up, the more you realize you are still asleep.
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