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Weekend Links – Feb 28, 2009

Weekend Links – Jan 1, 2009

Project Honey Pot Http:BL is Going Back Home

It is my pleasure to announce that I will be joining my development efforts of Project Honey Pot Http:BL plugin with Jan Stepien (the original developer of Http:BL). Jan has already merged my changes onto the Http:BL plugin which can be found here. I will no longer be updating Project Honey Pot Http:BL. I have been spread a bit thin lately so I welcome this partnership. I have a long features list for the Http:BL plugin, but just haven’t had to time to implement them. Make sure you stay tuned to see how well this plugin turns out!

Project Honey Pot Http:BL WordPress Plugin

This plugin is no longer supported/updated. Please see Project Honey Pot Http:BL is going back home.


Today I would like to announce the release of “Project Honey Pot Http:BL” WordPress Plugin.

Description

This plugin allows you to verify all visitors’ IP address against the Project Honey Pot database. Using the Http:BL API, this plugin flags, logs, and blocks visitors with a high threat score, helping you prevent harvesters, spammers, or other suspicious bots from abusing your blog. I’ve been talking a lot about LoJack anti-spam measures lately and this is one of them.
This plugin requires you to sign up for a free account at Project Honey Pot so that you can use their Http:BL API to verify your visitors.
This plugin is based on Jan Stepien’s http:BL version 1.4 which is no longer being supported. This version of the plugin fixes a lot of database bugs and usability issues that the original plugin had. Here are the key benefits of having this plugin enabled.

  1. LoJack anti-spam solution with collective intelligence
  2. Easy Project Honey Pot integration. No need to mess with Apache mod_httpbl, which means that this will work on shared hosts.
  3. Ability to redirect malicious bots to a bot trap.
  4. Logging capabilities

Read on…

AJAX Force Comment Preview WordPress Plugin

This plugin is no longer supported/updated because of low demand for the plugin.

Today I would like to announce the release of ‘AJAX Force Comment Preview’ WordPress plugin. The plugin works like TextPattern’s built-in ‘force comment preview’ feature by forcing your commenters to preview their comments prior to submission. In addition this plugin is AJAX enabled so the user does not have to reload the page to preview his/her comment. Here are the key benefits of having this plugin enabled.

  1. Comments quality will increase as users will be forced to preview his/her comment before submitting it. Previewed comments are sent through WordPress’ various filters so that the user can see exactly how his/her comment will appear after it is submitted.
  2. Spambots will not be able post comments unless it actually tries to “preview” the comment. When a preview is requested, a nonce key is generated and returned along with the preview. This nonce key is then required to be sent back to the server during comment submission. So in order to submit a comment, the spambot would have to use javascript to request a comment preview prior to submitting the comment. Most spambots do not care to preview so this offers some level of spam protection.

You may find the download link below. As always, please feel free to share any comments, questions, and suggestions!
Read on…

List Poisoning Email Harvesters


You may not know it, but your site is probably being regularly harvested for email addresses. In this post I will show you how to easily help fight email spam using a Lojack technique called List Poisoning (see previous post for more Lojack anti-spam philosophy). Though this is not a new technique, it is definitely worth spreading the word and implementing.
The goal here is to pollute the harvester’s email list with fake email addresses and fake recursive links. In doing so, the harvester will waste time and resources harvesting and spamming fake addresses. (see this in action)
In the demo below, you will notice that the first three links are recursive links that will just redirect to the same index.php. The next set of links will be fake email addresses generated for harvesters.
Read on…

Comments Were Broken Recently. It’s Fixed Now.


For those who have tried to comment on my posts but were not able to, I would like to sincerely apologize. If you are a returning reader/commenter, thank you for your patience and your continued reading loyalty. I would also like to thank Agam Rosyidi for notifying me that my comments were broken on this blog. In the future, if you notice anything wrong with my site, I would greatly appreciate it if you let me know via my about page.
On the actual problem itself, it turned out that WP-SpamFree was not working with WP-Super-Cache when the cached page is being dynamically delivered. I did not look too much into why this was the case, but comments now work after disabling WP-SpamFree. I have removed this plugin and I don’t plan on re-enabling WP-SpamFree in the future or making it work with WP-Super-Cache because of the philosophies in this great paper by Mark Pilgrim. I highly recommend reading this timeless article before you think about combatting spam. Read on…

Block Unwanted Spam Bots Using Varnish VCL


Every time I search the web for information on how to block spam bots, scrapers, and harvesters, I always see an Apache .htaccess file or some code to dump into httpd.conf to achieve this. I’m a bit against using this method for blocking evil bots. I do respect Apache for being a flexible & modular web server (that’s why I still use it), but I do not have much to boast about Apache’s speed and efficiency.
To achieve the same purpose on my server with greater efficiency, I made use of my Varnish reverse proxy configurations (located under /usr/local/etc/varnish/default.vcl).
In this post, I will only be discussing about vcl_recv subroutine, which gets called when a client request is received.
Read on…