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Web Dev + WordPress + Security

Building the 5G Blacklist

[ Common Server Responses ]

Protecting your website is more important than ever. There are a million ways to do it, and this is one of them. In fact, it’s what I use to protect Perishable Press and other key sites. It’s called the 5G Blacklist, and it’s something I’ve been working on for a long time. The idea is simple enough: analyze bad requests and block them using a firewall/blacklist via .htaccess. Now in its 5th generation, the 5G Blacklist has evolved into a […] 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 »

Block Tough Proxies

If you want to block tough proxies like hidemyass.com, my previously posted .htaccess methods won’t work. Those methods will block quite a bit of proxy visits to your site, but won’t work on the stealthier proxies. Fortunately, we can use a bit of PHP to keep them out. Continue reading »

5G Firewall Beta

[ 5G (beta) ]

Updating the 4G Blacklist, the new 5G Firewall is now open for beta testing. The new code is better than ever, providing wider protection with less code and fewer false positives. I’ve had much success with this new firewall, but more testing is needed to ensure maximum compatibility and minimal issues. Continue reading »

What a Malicious Server Scan Looks Like

Like most sites on the Web, Perishable Press is scanned constantly by malicious scripts looking for vulnerabilities and exploit opportunities. There is no end to the type and variety of malicious URL requests. It all depends on the script, the target, and the goal of the attack. Malicious scripts generally seek one of two things: 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 »

Protect Your Site with a Blackhole for Bad Bots

[ Black Hole (Vector) ]

One of my favorite security measures here at Perishable Press is the site’s virtual Blackhole trap for bad bots. The concept is simple: include a hidden link to a robots.txt-forbidden directory somewhere on your pages. Bots that ignore or disobey your robots rules will crawl the link and fall into the honeypot trap, which then performs a WHOIS Lookup and records the event in the blackhole data file. Once added to the blacklist data file, bad bots immediately are denied […] 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 »

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 »

Yahoo! Slurp too Stupid to be a Robot

I really hate bad robots. When a web crawler, spider, bot — or whatever you want to call it — behaves in a way that is contrary to expected and/or accepted protocols, we say that the bot is acting suspiciously, behaving badly, or just acting stupid in general. Unfortunately, there are thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of nefarious bots violating our sites every minute of the day. For the most part, there are effective methods available enabling […] 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 »

Deadly Killer

Priceless.. 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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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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