Spam trap

I seem to have created a spam trap, or, at least, most if it is falling into a black hole.

My preferred spam tool was a Captcha tool that made you rotate an image and only when it was lined up could you post a comment.  That stopped working and would not any comments through so I had to disable it.  As soon as I did so, Woosh! the comment spam starts reappearing.

Most of it gets created against one specific post, for some reason.  Anyway, I had an idea.  I created that post again and gave it a different permalink.  A redirection  from the old permalink to the new was automagically created by WordPress, although I have no idea how.

Now the copy of the page appears but the original version does not.  However, the spam is being posted to the original page; presumably because they are going direct to the /id=nnn link rather than the permalink.

Rather than delete the page and risk the spammers picking a new one to post their spam to, I’ll just leave it there.

What I need now is a WordPress plugin that says “For any comment posted on this page, delete it and blacklist the IP address”.  That would turn my spam black hole into a honeytrap.

Hacked again

Another of my sites has been hacked and the home page replaced.  Much less damage this time and it was easier to repair, remove and make the site secure again.  (The cause was an old Drupal installation which I tried and abandoned but did not delete.  It had some bug in it that gave people more access rights to the site than it should.)

Unfortunately for the numpty children doing this, they don’t realise that putting graffiti on walls does not endear people to their cause.  Assuming it really is them and not someone else trying to discredit them.

Image of the hacked home page that replaced my personal web site.

Image of the home page that hackers uploaded to replace my personal web site.

 

Tiresome security vulnerabilities and wannabe l33t h4ckerz

The 11112018 organisation web site got hacked last week.  Some child replaced the site with a pro-Islamic page that boasted of their l33t h4ck1ng skillz and claiming to be an Afghanistani member of a hacker team:

Screenshot of the hacked 11112018 web site

Hacked 11112018 web site

Meh.  The page was the sort of thing one saw on bulletin boards back in the early 1990s with a link to an (uncredited) image of a Moslem knight.

It is a shame that in doing so, they trashed the 11112018 anti-war web site. How to make friends and influence people, not.

They managed to do so because I had not applied an update to the Drupal web content management software I was using; the version had a security vulnerability this person took advantage of.  A quick Google search shows they have uploaded identical content to over 700 web sites.

What amazes me is the poor quality of their work.  The HTML is full of stupid errors that shows the child responsible did a simple cut ‘n’ paste of downloaded code into existing HTML without knowing what they were doing.  It also includes embedded JavaScript, some of which does not execute at all because it is incorrectly implemented.  The layout of the HTML also demonstrates a total lack of understanding of what they were doing.

This is the technology equivalent of putting sugar in someone’s petrol tank or letting their tyres down.

(But they were unwise to leave log file traces, names, IP addresses, traceable script and a trail of identical destruction to other web sites online.)

My To Do List for June included replacing Drupal with something else and putting up a load of content onto the 11112018 organisation site.  Well, now it seems I’ll be replacing the site completely.  Time that would have been spent working on peace studies and pro-peace activity.  But now with slightly less motivation than I had before.

Although I could claim “Hey, I’ve arrived!  A pro-Islamist activist group have targeted my peace web site for taking down and replaced it with their messages of hate!”  But the reality is they have an automated script that just trawls the domain lists for sites due for renewal and searches for this specific vulnerability, then automatically applies their—rather awful—content.

They have just as mindlessly replaced a web site for childcare and a children’s skateboard park web site.

It’s just the same childish, mindless vandalism as spraying swastikas on bus shelters.

I am so disappointed.

What a drain having a blog is

Trying to look after a WordPress blog is an enormous drain on your time.

There are the perpetual updates to WordPress, each of which means a backup of your web site first.

There are the theme updates which mean lots of testing to see what they break.

The battle with spam is a daily chore, distraction and annoyance.

Trying to find add-ins which work is another time-waster. I cannot find one which both works and yet does not silently lose valid comments. Capchas reduce it a little but are an annoyance. Akismet is as buggy as hell and makes valid comments silently disappear. Blacklisting iPs does not work. Keyword blocking does not work much.

I had such great plans, but all the spare time I want to devote to writing is spent in maintaining the WordPress product and deleting the spam.

It is all such a dreadful waste of my time and energy.

Blogging in the Shower

I do my best thinking in the shower.

Today, for example, I had another great idea in the shower.

I can even remember thinking:

“But I don’t suppose I’ll remember this when I get out.  As usual.”

And you know what?

I don’t remember.

As usual.

This happens to me most days.

Why you should register other domains

On looking up information on the No2ID campaign to see how they started up, I came across the web site www.no2id.co.uk which is entitled “History of NO2ID campaigning organisation. This is a informational website about No2ID campaigning organisation.”

“Oh, wow,” I thought. “Everything I need to know.”

Nope. It is not what it says. It has been set up to advertise web sites selling id cards, digital access control, search engine optimisation services, web hosting, army recruitment, and biometric services. That’s right, selling exactly what the No2ID campaign is opposed to. But they have done it by taking text from the No2ID campaign and knocking up a fake site to do it.

What cynical buggers. (A WHOIS lookup will tell you who the cynical bugger is. The same cynical bugger it links to as a SEO Consultant.  As he says: “He is a member of Nominet, a TAG holder and well known and respected in the UK domain industry.”  Not well-respected by me!)

Conclusion: always register the alternative domain names – if you don’t some toe-rag parasite will and may even use them to actively campaign against you and make money as they do it, using your marketing effort in the process.

Amazing.

Nuclear deterrent – Lord Spamalot says “Bung a bomb at ’em, what?”

This was a proper and normal post on my blog.  For some reason it is the one the spammers invariably choose to post their rubbish.

So, as an experiment, I have copied the content of the page to a new one and changed this to see what happens.  I also changed the slug, which was possible a mistake, as it changed the permalink.

Every comment you see attached to this post is, very likely, spam.

WordPress issues

How thoroughly marvellous! Have a blog for 5 minutes and the issues start.

I re-began this just as a massive global botnet attack started on WordPress sites, using brute-force to try to break into admin accounts.

The last 5 days have been lost as I worked out why I couldn’t log in at all (the hosting company’s temporary security measure), then deleted the admin account (and created a new one with a different name) and downgraded myself from an administrator to have less powerful user rights. But now I’m back online and can post again. With login attempt tracking installed, captchas needed to do most anything and everything up-to-date software-wise.

What a tedious waste of time and energy, and an unnecessary distraction. Not just for me, but probably for millions of other WordPress site owners and users worldwide.