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Web Dev + WordPress + Security
138 posts

Does Google Hate Web Standards?

Consider the Google home page — arguably the most popular, highly visited web page in the entire world. Such a simple page, right? You would think that such a simple design would fully embrace Web Standards. I mean, think about it for a moment.. How would you or I throw down a few lists, a search field, and a logo image? Something like this, maybe: Continue reading »

How to Cache Mint JavaScript

Recently, I spent some time addressing a few of the performance issues pointed out by Yahoo!’s very useful YSlow extension for Firebug. Working on performance tip #3, Add an Expires or a Cache-Control Header, I encountered some difficulty while trying to get the JavaScript used by Mint to cache as desired. Apparently, the HTAccess directives used to cache my other scripts do not effect the two PHP-generated JavaScript files used by Mint. Although I am not entirely certain, I suspect […] Continue reading »

Set the Browser Access Point Profile for the AT&T 8525

This unfeatured post provides information for (re)establishing wireless Internet access from AT&T/Cingular Data Service (via WAP or MEdia Net) for the HTC/AT&T 8525 mobile device. Or something. This information is useful if you are unable to connect to the Internet and receiving error messages similar to the following: Error: Your Internet connection is not configured properly. Please verify your settings in Data Connections. Note: Use of the following settings enables the AT&T 8525 to access MEdia Net (WAP) pages using […] Continue reading »

Unexplained Crawl Behavior Involving Tagged Query Strings

I need your help! I am losing my mind trying to solve another baffling mystery. For the past three or four months, I have been recording many 404 Errors generated from msnbot, Yahoo-Slurp, and other spider crawls. These errors result from invalid requests for URLs containing query strings such as the following: https://example.com/press/page/2/?tag=spam https://example.com/press/page/3/?tag=code https://example.com/press/page/2/?tag=email https://example.com/press/page/2/?tag=xhtml https://example.com/press/page/4/?tag=notes https://example.com/press/page/2/?tag=flash https://example.com/press/page/2/?tag=links https://example.com/press/page/3/?tag=theme https://example.com/press/page/2/?tag=press Note: For these example URLs, I replaced my domain, perishablepress.com with the generic example.com. Turns out that listing the plain-text […] Continue reading »

Series Summary: Building the 3G Blacklist

In the now-complete series, Building the 3G Blacklist, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protection against malicious attacks. Each article in the series focuses on unique blacklist strategies designed to protect sites transparently, effectively, and efficiently. The five articles culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Here is a quick summary of the entire Building the 3G Blacklist series: Continue reading »

Perishable Press 3G Blacklist

After much research and discussion, I have developed 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. Over time, these mega-lists 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 by […] Continue reading »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 5: Improving Site Security by Selectively Blocking Individual IPs

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. Wrapping up the series with this article, I provide the final key to our comprehensive blacklist strategy: selectively blocking individual IPs. Previous articles also focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. In the next article, these five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Continue reading »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 4: Improving RedirectMatch in the Original 2G Blacklist

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this fourth article, I build upon previous ideas and techniques by improving the directives contained in the original 2G Blacklist. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Continue reading »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 3: Improving Security by Blocking Rogue User Agents

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this third article, I discuss targeted, user-agent blacklisting and present an alternate approach to preventing site access for the most prevalent and malicious user agents. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G […] Continue reading »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 2: Improving Security by Preventing Query-String Exploits

In this continuing five-article series, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this second article, I present an incredibly powerful method for eliminating malicious query string exploits. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Improving Security by Preventing Query String Exploits A vast […] Continue reading »

Building the 3G Blacklist, Part 1: Improving Security by Exploiting Server Attack Patterns

In this series of five articles, I share insights and discoveries concerning website security and protecting against malicious attacks. In this first article of the series, I examine the process of identifying attack trends and using them to immunize against future attacks. Subsequent articles will focus on key blacklist strategies designed to protect your site transparently, effectively, and efficiently. At the conclusion of the series, the five articles will culminate in the release of the next generation 3G Blacklist. Improving […] Continue reading »

2G Blacklist: Closing the Door on Malicious Attacks

Since posting the Ultimate htaccess Blacklist and then the Ultimate htaccess Blacklist 2, I find myself dealing with a new breed of malicious attacks. It is no longer useful to simply block nefarious user agents because they are frequently faked. Likewise, blocking individual IP addresses is generally a waste of time because the attacks are coming from a decentralized network of zombie machines. Watching my error and access logs very closely, I have observed the following trends in current attacks: Continue reading »

Over 150 of the Worst Spammers, Scrapers and Crackers from 2007

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 »

Laser-Focused Feeds and Smarter Feed Management

My current adventure into the fascinating realms of site redesign and optimization has yielded several chunks of fruit related to managing and delivering feed content. One of my primary concerns regarding the overhaul of Perishable Press is streamlined content delivery and rights management. An important area of convergence for these two factors involves the management and delivery of a site’s syndicated content. In this article, I explain the shortcomings of many default feed configurations and present an effective overall strategy […] Continue reading »

Important Note for Your Custom Error Pages

Just a note to web designers and code-savvy bloggers: make sure your custom error pages are big enough for the ever-amazing <cough> Internet Explorer browser. If your custom error pages are too small, IE will take the liberty of serving its own proprietary web page, replete with corporate linkage and poor grammar. How big, baby? Well, that’s a good question. In order for users of Internet Explorer to enjoy your carefully crafted custom error pages, they need to exceed 512 […] Continue reading »

Are Adblock-Plus Visitors Seeing Your Content?

As Firefox continues to grow in popularity, it is inevitable that more and more users will install plugins such as Adblock and Adblock Plus. As we know, such extensions work by filtering site contents through a list of predefined wildcard directives and other rules. Users may also customize the block-list by right-clicking on unwanted images or even subscribing to an automated filterset updater. Apparently, a significant number of Firefox users employ these extensions to help control the relentless flood of […] 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 »
Blackhole Pro: Trap bad bots in a virtual black hole.
Thoughts
Watching. Waiting. Praying.
Got all of my free WordPress plugins updated for imminent WP 5.6 in early December. Pro plugin updates currently in the works.
7G Firewall now integrated into BBQ Firewall (free version). Pro version soon ;)
macOS Big Sur update complete. So far no crazy issues. Except TextEdit, which is completely screwed up and unusable. Replaced with free BBEdit.
Got so sick of macOS’ annoying “red dot” that I had to remove System Prefs from the dock. Come on Apple you can do better.
Beginning development of an Nginx version of 7G Firewall.
Happy Birthday to Perishable Press, celebrating 15 years online! :)
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